Skip to main content

Full text of "Hinduism and Buddhism : an historical sketch"

See other formats







In  three  volumes 


Broadway  House,  68-74  Carter  Lane, 

London,   E.G. 4. 

C  A,, 

First  pubiished  1921 

Reprinted  1954 
Reprinted  1957 
Reprinted  1962 



APR  5    1967 










XL.  JAVA  AND  THE  MALAY  ARCHIPELAGO     .        .        .  151 

XLI.      CENTRAL  ASIA 188 


XLIII.  CHINA  (continued).  HISTORY         ....  244 

XLIV.  CHINA  (continued).  THE  CANON     .        .        .        ,281 


XL VI.     CHINA  (continued).  CHINESE  BUDDHISM  AT  THE 




XLIX.  TIBET.  INTRODUCTORY         .        .        .        .        .  345 

L.  TIBET  (continued).  HISTORY          ....  347 

LI.  TIBET  (continued).  THE  CANON     ....  372 

LII.  TIBET  (continued).  DOCTRINES  OF  LAMAISM  .        .  382 

LIII.  TIBET  (continued).  SECTS 397 

LIV.  JAPAN  .  402 





LV.       INFLUENCE  OF  CHRISTIANITY  IN  INDIA  .        .        .  409 


LVII.      PERSIAN  INFLUENCE  IN  INDIA       ....  449 


INDEX  ,  463 





THE  subject  of  this  Book  is  the  expansion  of  Indian  influence 
throughout  Eastern  Asia  and  the  neighbouring  islands.  That 
influence  is  clear  and  wide -spread,  nay  almost  universal,  and  it 
is  with  justice  that  we  speak  of  Further  India  and  the  Dutch 
call  their  colonies  Neerlands  Indie.  For  some  early  chapters  in 
the  story  of  this  expansion  the  dates  and  details  are  meagre, 
but  on  the  whole  the  investigator's  chief  difficulty  is  to  grasp 
and  marshal  the  mass  of  facts  relating  to  the  development  of 
religion  and  civilization  in  this  great  region. 

The  spread  of  Hindu  thought  was  an  intellectual  conquest, 
not  an  exchange  of  ideas.  On  the  north-western  frontier  there 
was  some  reciprocity,  but  otherwise  the  part  played  by  India 
was  consistently  active  and  not  receptive.  The  Far  East  counted 
for  nothing  in  her  internal  history,  doubtless  because  China  was 
too  distant  and  the  other  countries  had  no  special  culture  of 
their  own.  Still  it  is  remarkable  that  whereas  many  Hindu 
missionaries  preached  Buddhism  in  China,  the  idea  of  making 
Confucianism  known  in  India  seems  never  to  have  entered  the 
head  of  any  Chinese. 

It  is  correct  to  say  that  the  sphere  of  India's  intellectual 
conquests  was  the  East  and  North,  not  the  West,  but  still 
Buddhism  spread  considerably  to  the  west  of  its  original  home 
and  entered  Persia.  Stein  discovered  a  Buddhist  monastery  in 
"  the  terminal  marshes  of  the  Helmund  "  in  Seistan1  and  Bamian 
is  a  good  distance  from  our  frontier.  But  in  Persia  and  its 
border  lands  there  were  powerful  state  religions,  first  Zoro- 
astrianism  and  then  Islam,  which  disliked  and  hindered  the  im 
portation  of  foreign  creeds  and  though  we  may  see  some 
resemblance  between  Sufis  and  Vedantists,  it  does  not  appear 
that  the  Moslim  civilization  of  Iran  owed  much  to  Hinduism. 

1  Oeog.  Jour.  Aug.,  1916,  p.  362. 


But  in  all  Asia  north  and  east  of  India,  excluding  most  of 
Siberia  but  including  the  Malay  Archipelago,  Indian  influence 
is  obvious.  Though  primarily  connected  with  religion  it  includes 
much  more,  such  as  architecture,  painting  and  other  arts,  an 
Indian  alphabet,  a  vocabulary  of  Indian  words  borrowed  or 
translated,  legends  and  customs.  The  whole  life  of  such  diverse 
countries  as  Tibet,  Burma,  and  Java  would  have  been  different 
had  they  had  no  connection  with  India. 

In  these  and  many  other  regions  the  Hindus  must  have 
found  a  low  state  of  civilization,  but  in  the  Far  East  they  en 
countered  a  culture  comparable  with  their  own.  There  was  no 
question  of  colonizing  or  civilizing  rude  races.  India  and  China 
met  as  equals,  not  hostile  but  also  not  congenial,  a  priest  and  a 
statesman,  and  the  statesman  made  large  concessions  to  the 
priest.  Buddhism  produced  a  great  fermentation  and  contro 
versy  in  Chinese  thought,  but  though  its  fortunes  varied  it 
hardly  ever  became  as  in  Burma  and  Ceylon  the  national 
religion.  It  was,  as  a  Chinese  Emperor  once  said,  one  of  the 
two  wings  of  a  bird.  The  Chinese  characters  did  not  give  way 
to  an  Indian  alphabet  nor  did  the  Confucian  Classics  fall  into 
desuetude.  The  subjects  of  Chinese  and  Japanese  pictures  may 
be  Buddhist,  the  plan  and  ornaments  of  their  temples  Indian, 
yet  judged  as  works  of  art  the  pictures  and  temples  are  indige 
nous.  But  for  all  that  one  has  only  to  compare  the  China  of  the 
Hans  with  the  China  of  the  T'angs  to  see  how  great  was  the 
change  wrought  by  India. 

This  outgrowing  of  Indian  influence,  so  long  continued  and 
so  wide  in  extent,  was  naturally  not  the  result  of  any  one  im 
pulse.  At  no  time  can  we  see  in  India  any  passion  of  discovery, 
any  fever  of  conquest  such  as  possessed  Europe  when  the  New 
World  and  the  route  to  the  East  round  the  Cape  were  discovered. 
India's  expansion  was  slow,  generally  peaceful  and  attracted 
little  attention  at  home.  Partly  it  was  due  to  the  natural  per 
meation  and  infiltration  of  a  superior  culture  beyond  its  own 
borders,  but  it  is  equally  natural  that  this  gradual  process 
should  have  been  sometimes  accelerated  by  force  of  arms.  The 
Hindus  produced  no  Tamerlanes  or  Babers,  but  a  series  of 
expeditions,  spread  over  long  ages,  but  stiD  not  few  in  number, 
carried  them  to  such  distant  goals  as  Ceylon,  Java  and 


But  the  diffusion  of  Indian  influence,  especially  in  China, 
was  also  due  to  another  agency,  namely  religious  propaganda 
and  the  deliberate  despatch  of  missions.  These  missions  seem 
to  have  been  exclusively  Buddhist  for  wherever  we  find  records 
of  Hinduism  outside  India,  for  instance  in  Java  and  Camboja, 
the  presence  of  Hindu  conquerors  or  colonists  is  also  recorded1. 
Hinduism  accompanied  Hindus  and  sometimes  spread  round 
their  settlements,  but  it  never  attempted  to  convert  distant  and 
alien  lands.  But  the  Buddhists  had  from  the  beginning  the  true 
evangelistic  temper:  they  preached  to  all  the  world  and  in 
singleness  of  purpose :  they  had  no  political  support  from  India. 
Many  as  were  the  charges  brought  against  them  by  hostile 
Confucians,  it  was  never  suggested  that  they  sought  political  or 
commercial  privileges  for  their  native  land.  It  was  this  simple 
disinterested  attitude  which  enabled  Buddhism,  though  in  many 
ways  antipathetic  to  the  Far  East,  to  win  its  confidence. 

Ceylon  is  the  first  place  where  we  have  a  record  of  the  intro 
duction  of  Indian  civilization  and  its  entry  there  illustrates  all 
the  phenomena  mentioned  above,  infiltration,  colonization  and 
propaganda.  The  island  is  close  to  the  continent  and  communi 
cation  with  the  Tamil  country  easy,  but  though  there  has  long 
been  a  large  Tamil  population  with  its  own  language,  religion 
and  temples,  the  fundamental  civilization  is  not  Tamil.  A 
Hindu  called  Vijaya  who  apparently  started  from  the  region  of 
Broach  about  500  B.C.  led  an  expedition  to  Ceylon  and  intro 
duced  a  western  Hindu  language.  Intercourse  with  the  north 
was  doubtless  maintained,  for  in  the  reign  of  Asoka  we  find  the 
King  of  Ceylon  making  overtures  to  him  and  receiving  with 
enthusiasm  the  missionaries  whom  he  sent.  It  is  possible  that 
southern  India  played  a  greater  part  in  this  conversion  than  the 
accepted  legend  indicates,  for  we  hear  of  a  monastery  built  by 
Mahinda  near  Tan j ore2.  But  still  language,  monuments  and 
tradition  attest  the  reality  of  the  connection  with  northern 

It  is  in  Asoka's  reign  too  that  we  first  hear  of  Indian  influence 
spreading  northwards.  His  Empire  included  Nepal  and  Kashmir, 

1  The  presence  of  Brahmans  at  the  Courts  of  Burma  and  Siam  is  a  different 
matter.  They  were  expressly  invited  as  more  skilled  in  astrology  and  state  cere 
monies  than  Buddhists. 

2  Watters,  Yuan  Chuang,  vol.  n.  p.  228. 


he  sent  missionaries  to  the  region  of  Himavanta,  meaning 
apparently  the  southern  slopes  of  the  Himalayas,  and  to  the 
Kambojas,  an  ambiguous  race  who  were  perhaps  the  inhabitants 
of  Tibet  or  its  border  lands.  The  Hindu  Kush  seems  to  have 
been  the  limit  of  his  dominions  but  tradition  ascribes  to  this 
period  the  joint  colonization  of  Khotan  from  India  and  China. 

Sinhalese  and  Burmese  traditions  also  credit  him  with  the 
despatch  of  missionaries  who  converted  Suvarnabhumi  or  Pegu. 
No  mention  of  this  has  been  found  in  his  own  inscriptions,  and 
European  critics  have  treated  it  with  not  unnatural  scepticism 
for  there  is  little  indication  that  Asoka  paid  much  attention  to 
the  eastern  frontiers  of  his  Empire.  Still  I  think  the  question 
should  be  regarded  as  being  sub  judice  rather  than  as  answered 
in  the  negative. 

Indian  expeditions  to  the  East  probably  commenced,  if  not 
in  the  reign  of  Asoka,  at  least  before  our  era.  The  Chinese 
Annals1  state  that  Indian  Embassies  reached  China  by  sea 
about  50  B.C.  and  the  Questions  of  Milinda  allude  to  trade  by 
this  route:  the  Ramayana  mentions  Java  and  an  inscription 
seems  to  testify  that  a  Hindu  king  was  reigning  in  Champa 
(Annam)  about  150  A.D.  These  dates  are  not  so  precise  as  one 
could  wish,  but  if  there  was  a  Hindu  kingdom  in  that  distant 
region  in  the  second  century  it  was  probably  preceded  by  settle 
ments  in  nearer  halting  places,  such  as  the  Isthmus  of  Kra2  or 
Java,  at  a  considerably  anterior  date,  although  the  inscriptions 
discovered  there  are  not  earlier  than  the  fifth  century  A.D. 

Java  seems  to  have  left  some  trace  in  Indian  tradition,  for 
instance  the  proverb  that  those  who  go  to  Java  do  not  come 
back,  and  it  may  have  been  an  early  distributing  centre  for 
men  and  merchandize  in  those  seas.  But  Ligor  probably  marks 
a  still  earlier  halting  place.  It  is  on  the  same  coast  as  the  Mon 
kingdom  of  Thaton,  which  had  connection  with  Conjevaram  by 
sea  and  was  a  centre  of  Pali  Buddhism.  At  any  rate  there  was 
a  movement  of  conquest  and  colonization  in  these  regions  which 
brought  with  it  Hinduism  and  Mahayanism,  and  established 
Hindu  kingdoms  in  Java,  Camboja,  Champa  and  Borneo,  and 
another  movement  of  Hinayanist  propaganda,  apparently 

1  But  not  contemporary  Annals.  The  Liang  Annals  make  the  statement  about 
the  reign  of  Hsiian  Li  73-49  B.C. 

2  Especially  at  Ligor  or  Dharmaraja. 


earlier,  but  of  which  we  know  less1.  Though  these  expeditions 
both  secular  and  religious  probably  took  ship  on  the  east  coast 
of  India,  e.g.  at  Masulipatam  or  the  Seven  Pagodas,  yet  their 
original  starting  point  may  have  been  in  the  west,  such  as  the 
district  of  Badami  or  even  Gujarat,  for  there  were  trade  routes 
across  the  Indian  Peninsula  at  an  early  date2. 

It  is  curious  that  the  early  history  of  Burma  should  be  so 
obscure  and  in  order  not  to  repeat  details  and  hypotheses  I 
refer  the  reader  to  the  chapter  dealing  specially  with  this 
country.  From  an  early  epoch  Upper  Burma  had  connection 
with  China  and  Bengal  by  land  and  Lower  Burma  with  Orissa 
and  Conjevaram  by  sea.  We  know  too  that  Pali  Buddhism 
existed  there  in  the  sixth  century,  that  it  gained  greatly  in 
power  in  the  reign  of  Anawrata  (c.  1060)  and  that  in  subsequent 
centuries  there  was  a  close  ecclesiastical  connection  with  Ceylon. 

Siam  as  a  kingdom  is  relatively  modern  but  like  Burma  it 
has  been  subject  to  several  influences.  The  Siamese  probably 
brought  some  form  of  Buddhism  with  them  when  they  de 
scended  from  the  north  to  their  present  territories.  From  the 
Cambojans,  their  neighbours  and  at  one  time  their  suzerains, 
they  must  have  acquired  some  Hinduism  and  Mahayanism, 
but  they  ended  by  adopting  Hinayanism.  The  source  was 
probably  Pegu  but  learned  men  from  Ligor  were  also  welcomed 
and  the  ecclesiastical  pre-eminence  of  Ceylon  was  accepted. 

We  thus  see  how  Indian  influence  conquered  Further  India 
and  the  Malay  Archipelago  and  we  must  now  trace  its  flow  across 
Central  Asia  to  China  and  Japan,  as  well  as  the  separate  and 
later  stream  which  irrigated  Tibet  and  Mongolia. 

Tradition  as  mentioned  ascribes  to  Asoka  some  connection 
with  Khotan  and  it  is  probable  that  by  the  beginning  of  our 
era  the  lands  of  the  Oxus  and  Tarim  had  become  Buddhist  and 
acquired  a  mixed  civilization  in  which  the  Indian  factor  was 
large.  As  usual  it  is  difficult  to  give  precise  dates,  but  Buddhism 
probably  reached  China  by  land  a  little  before  rather  than 
after  our  era  and  the  prevalence  of  Gandharan  art  in  the  cities 
of  the  Tarim  basin  makes  it  likely  that  their  efflorescence  was 
not  far  removed  in  time  from  the  Gandharan  epoch  of  India. 

1  The  statement  of  I-Ching  that  a  wicked  king  destroyed  Buddhism  in  Funan 
is  important. 

2  See  Fleet  in  J.R.A.S.  1901,  p.  548. 


The  discovery  near  Khotan  of  official  documents  written  in 
Prakrit  makes  colonization  as  well  as  religious  missions  probable. 
Further,  although  the  movements  of  Central  Asian  tribes  com 
monly  took  the  form  of  invading  India,  yet  the  current  of 
culture  was,  on  the  whole,  in  the  opposite  direction.  The 
Kushans  and  others  brought  with  them  a  certain  amount  of 
Zoroastrian  theology  and  Hellenistic  art,  but  the  compound 
resulting  from  the  mixture  of  these  elements  with  Buddhism  was 
re-exported  to  the  north  and  to  China. 

I  shall  discuss  below  the  grounds  for  believing  that  Buddhism 
was  known  in  China  before  A.D.  62,  the  date  when  the  Emperor 
Ming  Ti  is  said  to  have  despatched  a  mission  to  enquire  about 
it.  For  some  time  many  of  its  chief  luminaries  were  immigrants 
from  Central  Asia  and  it  made  its  most  rapid  progress  in  that 
disturbed  period  of  the  third  and  fourth  centuries  when  North 
China  was  split  up  into  contending  Tartar  states  which  both  in 
race  and  politics  were  closely  connected  with  Central  Asia. 
Communication  with  India  by  land  became  frequent  and  there 
was  also  communication  vid  the  Malay  Archipelago,  especially 
after  the  fifth  century,  when  a  double  stream  of  Buddhist 
teachers  began  to  pour  into  China  by  sea  as  well  as  by  land. 
A  third  tributary  joined  them  later  when  Khubilai,  the  Mongol 
conqueror  of  China,  made  Lamaism,  or  Tibetan  Buddhism,  the 
state  religion. 

Tibetan  Buddhism  is  a  form  of  late  Indian  Mahayanism  with 
a  considerable  admixture  of  Hinduism,  exported  from  Bengal 
to  Tibet  and  there  modified  not  so  much  in  doctrine  as  by  the 
creation  of  a  powerful  hierarchy,  curiously  analogous  to  the 
Roman  Church.  It  is  unknown  in  southern  China  and  not  much 
favoured  by  the  educated  classes  in  the  north,  but  the  Lamaist 
priesthood  enjoys  great  authority  in  Tibet  and  Mongolia,  and 
both  the  Ming  and  Ch'ing  dynasties  did  their  best  to  conciliate 
it  for  political  reasons.  Lamaism  has  borrowed  little  from 
China  and  must  be  regarded  as  an  invasion  into  northern  Asia 
and  even  Europe1  of  late  Indian  religion  and  art,  somewhat 
modified  by  the  strong  idiosyncrasy  of  the  Tibetan  people.  This 
northern  movement  was  started  by  the  desire  of  imitation,  not 
of  conquest.  At  the  beginning  of  the  seventh  century  the  King 

1  There  are  settlements  of  Kalmuks  near  Astrakhan  who  have  Lama  temples 
and  maintain  a  connection  with  Tibet. 


of  Tibet,  who  had  dealings  with  both  India  and  China,  sent  a 
mission  to  the  former  to  enquire  about  Buddhism  and  in  the 
eighth  and  eleventh  centuries  eminent  doctors  were  summoned 
from  India  to  establish  the  faith  and  then  to  restore  it  after  a 
temporary  eclipse. 

In  Korea,  Annam,  and  especially  in  Japan,  Buddhism  has 
been  a  great  ethical,  religious  and  artistic  force  and  in  this 
sense  those  countries  owe  much  to  India.  Yet  there  was  little 
direct  communication  and  what  they  received  came  to  them 
almost  entirely  through  China.  The  ancient  Champa  was  a 
Hindu  kingdom  analogous  to  Camboja,  but  modern  Annam 
represents  not  a  continuation  of  this  civilization  but  a  later 
descent  of  Chinese  culture  from  the  north.  Japan  was  in  close 
touch  with  the  Chinese  just  at  the  period  when  Buddhism  was 
fermenting  their  whole  intellectual  life  and  Japanese  thought 
and  art  grew  up  in  the  glow  of  this  new  inspiration,  which  was 
more  intense  than  in  China  because  there  was  no  native  antagon 
ist  of  the  same  strength  as  Confucianism. 

In  the  following  chapters  I  propose  to  discuss  the  history  of 
Indian  influence  in  the  various  countries  of  Eastern  Asia, 
taking  Ceylon  first,  followed  by  Burma  and  Siam.  Whatever 
may  have  been  the  origin  of  Buddhism  in  these  two  latter  they 
have  had  for  many  centuries  a  close  ecclesiastical  connection 
with  Ceylon.  Pali  Buddhism  prevails  in  all,  as  well  as  in  modern 

The  Indian  religion  which  prevailed  in  ancient  Camboja  was 
however  of  a  different  type  and  similar  to  that  of  Champa  and 
Java.  In  treating  of  these  Hindu  kingdoms  I  have  wondered 
whether  I  should  not  begin  with  Java  and  adopt  the  hypothesis 
that  the  settlements  established  there  sent  expeditions  to  the 
mainland  and  Borneo1.  But  the  history  of  Java  is  curiously 
fragmentary  whereas  the  copious  inscriptions  of  Camboja  and 
Champa  combined  with  Chinese  notices  give  a  fairly  continuous 
chronicle.  And  a  glance  at  the  map  will  show  that  if  there  were 
Hindu  colonists  at  Ligor  it  would  have  been  much  easier  for 

1  The  existence  of  a  Hindu  kingdom  on  the  East  Coast  of  Borneo  in  400  A.D. 
or  earlier  is  a  strong  argument  in  favour  of  colonization  from  Java.  Expeditions 
from  any  other  quarter  would  naturally  have  gone  to  the  West  Coast.  Also  there  is 
some  knowledge  of  Java  in  India,  but  apparently  none  of  Camboja  or  Champa. 
This  suggests  that  Java  may  have  been  the  first  halting  place  and  kept  up  some 
slight  connection  with  the  mother  country. 

10  BUDDHISM  OUTSIDE  INDIA      [OH.  xxxiv 

them  to  go  across  the  Gulf  of  Siam  to  Camboja  than  via  Java. 
I  have  therefore  not  adopted  the  hypothesis  of  expansion  from 
Java  (while  also  not  rejecting  it)  nor  followed  any  chronological 
method  but  have  treated  of  Camboja  first,  as  being  the  Hindu 
state  of  which  on  the  whole  we  know  most  and  then  of  Champa 
and  Java  in  comparison  with  it. 

In  the  later  sections  of  the  book  I  consider  the  expansion  of 
Indian  influence  in  the  north.  A  chapter  on  Central  Asia 
endeavours  to  summarize  our  rapidly  increasing  knowledge  of 
this  meeting  place  of  nations.  Its  history  is  closely  connected 
with  China  and  naturally  leads  me  to  a  somewhat  extended 
review  of  the  fortunes  and  achievements  of  Buddhism  in  that 
great  land,  and  also  to  a  special  study  of  Tibet  and  of  Lamaism. 
I  have  treated  of  Nepal  elsewhere.  For  the  history  of  religion 
it  is  not  a  new  province,  but  simply  the  extreme  north  of  the 
Indian  region  where  the  last  phase  of  decadent  Indian  Buddhism 
which  practically  disappeared  in  Bengal  still  retains  a  nominal 



THE  island  of  Ceylon,  perhaps  the  most  beautiful  tropical 
country  in  the  world,  lies  near  the  end  of  the  Indian  peninsula 
but  a  little  to  the  east.  At  one  point  a  chain  of  smaller  islands 
and  rocks  said  to  have  been  built  by  Rama  as  a  passage  for  his 
army  of  monkeys  leads  to  the  mainland.  It  is  therefore  natural 
that  the  population  should  have  relations  with  southern  India. 
Sinhalese  art,  religion  and  language  show  traces  of  Tamil  influ 
ence  but  it  is  somewhat  surprising  to  find  that  in  these  and  in 
all  departments  of  civilization  the  influence  of  northern  India 
is  stronger.  The  traditions  which  explain  the  connection  of 
Ceylon  with  this  distant  region  seem  credible  and  the  Sinhalese, 
who  were  often  at  war  with  the  Tamils,  were  not  disposed 
to  imitate  their  usages,  although  juxtaposition  and  invasion 
brought  about  much  involuntary  resemblance. 

The  school  of  Buddhism  now  professed  in  Ceylon,  Burma 
and  Siam  is  often  called  Sinhalese  and  (provided  it  is  not  implied 
that  its  doctrines  originated  in  Ceylon)  the  epithet  is  correct. 
For  the  school  ceased  to  exist  in  India  and  in  the  middle  ages 
both  Burma  and  Siam  accepted  the  authority  of  the  Sinhalese 
Sangha1.  This  Sinhalese  school  seems  to  be  founded  on  the 
doctrines  and  scriptures  accepted  in  the  time  of  Asoka  in 
Magadha  and  though  the  faith  may  have  been  codified  and 
supplemented  in  its  new  home,  I  see  no  evidence  that  it  under 
went  much  corruption  or  even  development.  One  is  inclined  at 
first  to  think  that  the  Hindus,  having  a  continuous  living 
tradition  connecting  them  with  Gotama  who  was  himself  a 
Hindu,  were  more  likely  than  these  distant  islanders  to  pre 
serve  the  spirit  of  his  teaching.  But  there  is  another  side  to 

1  E.g.  Burma  in  the  reign  of  Anawrata  and  later  in  the  time  of  Chapata  about 
1200,  and  Siam  in  the  time  of  Suryavamsa  Rama,  1361.  On  the  other  hand  in  1752 
the  Sinhalese  succession  was  validated  by  obtaining  monks  from  Burma. 

E.  m.  2 


the  question.  The  Hindus  being  addicted  to  theological  and 
metaphysical  studies  produced  original  thinkers  who,  if  not  able 
to  found  new  religions,  at  least  modified  what  their  predecessors 
had  laid  down.  If  certain  old  texts  were  held  in  too  high  esteem 
to  be  neglected,  the  ingenuity  of  the  commentator  rarely  failed 
to  reinterpret  them  as  favourable  to  the  views  popular  in  his 
time.  But  the  Sinhalese  had  not  this  passion  for  theology.  So 
far  as  we  can  judge  of  them  in  earlier  periods  they  were  endowed 
with  an  amiable  and  receptive  but  somewhat  indolent  tempera 
ment,  moderate  gifts  in  art  and  literature  and  a  moderate  love 
and  understanding  of  theology.  Also  their  chiefs  claimed  to 
have  come  from  northern  India  and  were  inclined  to  accept 
favourably  anything  which  had  the  same  origin.  These  are 
exactly  the  surroundings  in  which  a  religion  can  flourish  without 
change  for  many  centuries  and  Buddhism  in  Ceylon  acquired 
stability  because  it  also  acquired  a  certain  national  and  patriotic 
flavour :  it  was  the  faith  of  the  Sinhalese  and  not  of  the  invading 
Tamils.  Such  Sinhalese  kings  as  had  the  power  protected  the 
Church  and  erected  magnificent  buildings  for  its  service. 

If  Sinhalese  tradition  may  be  believed,  the  first  historical 
contact  with  northern  India  was  the  expedition  of  Vijaya,  who 
with  700  followers  settled  in  the  island  about  the  time  of  the 
Buddha's  death.  Many  details  of  the  story  are  obviously  in 
vented.  Thus  in  order  to  explain  why  Ceylon  is  called  Sinhala, 
Vijaya  is  made  the  grandson  of  an  Indian  princess  who  lived 
with  a  lion.  But  though  these  legends  inspire  mistrust,  it  is  a 
fact  that  the  language  of  Ceylon  in  its  earliest  known  form  is 
a  dialect  closely  connected  with  Pali  (or  rather  with  the  spoken 
dialect  from  which  ecclesiastical  Pali  was  derived)  and  still 
more  closely  with  the  Maharashtri  Prakrit  of  western  India.  It 
is  not  however  a  derivative  of  this  Prakrit  but  parallel  to  it  and 
in  some  words  presents  older  forms1.  It  does  not  seem  possible 
to  ascribe  the  introduction  of  this  language  to  the  later  mission 
of  Mahinda,  for,  though  Buddhist  monks  have  in  many  countries 
influenced  literature  and  the  literary  vocabulary,  no  instance  is 
recorded  of  their  changing  the  popular  speech2.  But  Vijaya  is 
said  to  have  conquered  Ceylon  and  to  have  slaughtered  many 

1  Geiger,  Literatur  und  Sprache  der  Singhalesen,  p.  91. 

2  Compare  the  history  of  Khotan.  The  first  Indian  colonists  seem  to  have 
introduced  a  Prakrit  dialect.   Buddhism  and  Sanskrit  came  afterwards. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  13 

of  its  ancient  inhabitants,  called  Yakkhas1,  of  whom  we  know 
little  except  that  Sinhalese  contains  some  un-Aryan  words 
probably  borrowed  from  them.  According  to  the  Dipavamsa2, 
Vijaya  started  from  Bharukaccha  or  Broach  and  both  language 
and  such  historical  facts  as  we  know  confirm  the  tradition  that 
some  time  before  the  third  century  B.C.  Ceylon  was  conquered 
by  Indian  immigrants  from  the  west  coast. 

It  would  not  be  unreasonable  to  suppose  that  Vijaya  intro 
duced  into  Ceylon  the  elements  of  Buddhism,  but  there  is  little 
evidence  to  indicate  that  it  was  a  conspicuous  form  of  religion 
in  India  in  his  time.  Sinhalese  tradition  maintains  that  not  only 
Gotama  himself  but  also  the  three  preceding  Buddhas  were 
miraculously  transported  to  Ceylon  and  made  arrangements  for 
its  conversion.  Gotama  is  said  to  have  paid  no  less  than  three 
visits3:  all  are  obviously  impossible  and  were  invented  to  en 
hance  the  glory  of  the  island.  But  the  legends  which  relate  how 
Panduvasudeva  came  from  India  to  succeed  Vijaya,  how  he 
subsequently  had  a  Sakya  princess  brought  over  from  India  to 
be  his  wife  and  how  her  brothers  established  cities  in  Ceylon4, 
if  not  true  in  detail,  are  probably  true  in  spirit  in  so  far  as  they 
imply  that  the  Sinhalese  kept  up  intercourse  with  India  and 
were  familiar  with  the  principal  forms  of  Indian  religion.  Thus 
we  are  told5  that  King  Pandukabhaya  built  religious  edifices 
for  Niganthas  (Jains),  Brahmans,  Paribbajakas  (possibly  Budd 
hists)  and  Ajivikas.  When  Devanampiya  Tissa  ascended  the 
throne  (circ.  245  B.C.)  he  sent  a  complimentary  mission  bearing 
wonderful  treasures  to  Asoka  with  whom  he  was  on  friendly 
terms,  although  they  had  never  met.  This  implies  that  the 
kingdom  of  Magadha  was  known  and  respected  in  Ceylon,  and 
we  hear  that  the  mission  included  a  Brahman.  The  answer 
attributed  to  Asoka  will  surprise  no  one  acquainted  with  the 
inscriptions  of  that  pious  monarch.  He  said  that  he  had  taken 

1  Literally  demons,  that  is  wild  uncanny  men.    I  refrain  from  discussing  the 
origin  and  ethnological  position  of  the  Vaeddas  for  it  hardly  affects  the  history  of 
Buddhism  in  Ceylon.   For  Vijaya's  conquests  see  Mahavamsa  vn. 

2  ix.  26. 

3  Dipavamsa  i.  45-81,  n.  1-69.    Mahavamsa  i.  19-83.  The  legend  that  the 
Buddha  visited  Ceylon  and  left  his  footprint  on  Adam's  peak  is  at  least  as  old  as 
Buddhaghosa.   See  Samanta-pasadika  in  Oldenburg's  Vinaya  Pitaka,  vol.  m,  p.  332 
and  the  quotations  in  Skeen's  Adam's  Peak,  p.  50. 

4  Dipa,  v.  x.  1-9.   Mahavamsa  vm.  1-27,  ix.  1-12. 

5  Mahavamsa  x.  96,  102. 


refuge  in  the  law  of  Buddha  and  advised  the  King  of  Ceylon  to 
find  salvation  in  the  same  way.  He  also  sent  magnificent 
presents  consisting  chiefly  of  royal  insignia  and  Tissa  was 
crowned  for  the  second  time,  which  probably  means  that  he 
became  not  only  the  disciple  but  the  vassal  of  Asoka. 

In  any  case  the  records  declare  that  the  Indian  Emperor 
showed  the  greatest  solicitude  for  the  spiritual  welfare  of  Ceylon 
and,  though  they  are  obviously  embellished,  there  is  no  reason 
to  doubt  their  substantial  accuracy1.  The  Sinhalese  tradition 
agrees  on  the  whole  with  the  data  supplied  by  Indian  inscrip 
tions  and  Chinese  pilgrims.  The  names  of  missionaries  mentioned 
in  the  Dipa  and  Mahavamsas  recur  on  urns  found  at  Sanchi 
and  on  its  gateways  are  pictures  in  relief  which  appear  to 
represent  the  transfer  of  a  branch  of  the  Bo-tree  in  solemn  pro 
cession  to  some  destination  which,  though  unnamed,  may  be 
conjectured  to  be  Ceylon2.  The  absence  of  Mahinda's  name  in 
Asoka's  inscriptions  is  certainly  suspicious,  but  the  Sinhalese 
chronicles  give  the  names  of  other  missionaries  correctly  and 
a  mere  argumentum  ex  silentio  cannot  disprove  their  testimony 
on  this  important  point. 

The  principal  repositories  of  Sinhalese  tradition  are  the 
Dipavamsa,  the  Mahavamsa,  and  the  historical  preface  of 
Buddhaghosa's  Samanta-pasadika3.  All  later  works  are  founded 
on  these  three,  so  far  as  concerns  the  conversion  of  Ceylon  and 
the  immediately  subsequent  period,  and  the  three  works  appear 
to  be  rearrangements  of  a  single  source  known  as  the  Atthakatha, 
Sihalatthakatha,  or  the  words  of  the  Porana  (ancients).  These 
names  were  given  to  commentaries  on  the  Tipitaka  written  in 
Sinhalese  prose  interspersed  with  Pali  verse  and  several  of  the 
greater  monasteries  had  their  own  editions  of  them,  including 
a  definite  historical  section4.  It  is  probable  that  at  the  beginning 
of  the  fifth  century  A.D.  and  perhaps  in  the  fourth  century  the 
old  Sinhalese  in  which  the  prose  parts  of  the  Atthakatha  were 

1  For  the  credibility  of  the  Sinhalese  traditions  see  Geiger  introd.  to  translation 
of  Mahavamsa  1912  and  Norman  in  J.R.A.S.  1908,  pp.  1  ff.  and  on  the  other  side 
R.  0.  Franke  in  W.Z.K.M,  21,  pp.  203  ff.,  317  ff.  and  Z.D.M.G.  63,  pp.  540  ff. 

2  G  runwedel,  Buddhist  art  in  India,  pp.  69-72.  Rhys  Davids,  Buddhist  India,  p.  302. 

3  The  Jataka-nidana-katha  is  also  closely  allied  to  these  works  in  those  parts 
where  the  subject  matter  is  the  same. 

4  This  section  was  probably  called  Mahavainsa  in  a  general  sense  long  before 
the  name  was  specially  applied  to  the  work  which  now  bears  it. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  15 

written  was  growing  unintelligible,  and  that  it  was  becoming 
more  and  more  the  fashion  to  use  Pali  as  the  language  of  ecclesi 
astical  literature,  for  at  least  three  writers  set  themselves  to 
turn  part  of  the  traditions  not  into  the  vernacular  but  into  Pali. 
The  earliest  and  least  artistic  is  the  unknown  author  of  the  short 
chronicle  called  Dipavamsa,  who  wrote  between  302  A.D.  and 
430  A.D.1  His  work  is  weak  both  as  a  specimen  of  Pali  and  as 
a  narrative  and  he  probably  did  little  but  patch  together  the 
Pali  verses  occurring  from  time  to  time  in  the  Sinhalese  prose 
of  the  Atthakatha.  Somewhat  later,  towards  the  end  of  the 
fifth  century,  a  certain  Mahanama  arranged  the  materials  out 
of  which  the  Dipavamsa  had  been  formed  in  a  more  consecutive 
and  artistic  form,  combining  ecclesiastical  and  popular  legends2. 
His  work,  known  as  the  Mahavamsa,  does  not  end  with  the 
reign  of  Elara,  like  the  Dipavamsa,  but  describes  in  15  more 
chapters  the  exploits  of  Dutthagamani  and  his  successors  ending 
withMahasena3.  The  third  writer,  Buddhaghosa,  apparently  lived 
between  the  authors  of  the  two  chronicles.  His  voluminous  literary 
activity  will  demand  our  attention  later  but  so  far  as  history  is 
concerned  his  narrative  is  closely  parallel  to  the  Mahavamsa4. 

The  historical  narrative  is  similar  in  all  three  works.  After 
the  Council  of  Pataliputra,  Moggaliputta,  who  had  presided 
over  it,  came  to  the  conclusion  that  the  time  had  come  to 
despatch  missionaries  to  convert  foreign  countries.  Sinhalese 
tradition  represents  this  decision  as  emanating  from  Moggali 
putta  whereas  the  inscriptions  of  Asoka  imply  that  the  king 
himself  initiated  the  momentous  project.  But  the  difference  is 
small.  We  cannot  now  tell  to  whom  the  great  idea  first  occurred 
but  it  must  have  been  carried  out  by  the  clergy  with  the 
assistance  of  Asoka,  the  apostle  selected  for  Ceylon  was  his5 

1  See  introduction  to  Oldenburg's  edition,  pp.  8,  9. 

a  Perhaps  this  is  alluded  to  at  the  beginning  of  the  Mahavamsa  itself,  "The 
book  made  by  the  ancients  (porvanehi  kato)  was  in  some  places  too  diffuse  and  in 
others  too  condensed  and  contained  many  repetitions." 

3  The  Mahavanisa  was  continued  by  later  writers  and  brought  down  to  about 
1780  A.D. 

4  The  Mahavanisatika,  a  commentary  written  between  1000  and  1250  A.D.,  has 
also  some  independent  value  because  the  old  Atthakatha-Mahavamsa  was  still 
extant  and  used  by  the  writer. 

6  Son  according  to  the  Sinhalese  sources  but  according  to  Hsiian  Chuang  and 
others,  younger  brother.  In  favour  of  the  latter  it  may  be  said  that  the  younger 
brothers  of  kings  often  became  monks  in  order  to  avoid  political  complications. 


near  relative  Mahinda  who  according  to  the  traditions  of  the 
Sinhalese  made  his  way  to  their  island  through  the  air  with  six 
companions.  The  account  of  Hsiian  Chuang  hints  at  a  less 
miraculous  mode  of  progression  for  he  speaks  of  a  monastery 
built  by  Mahinda  somewhere  near  Tan j ore. 

The  legend  tells  how  Mahinda  and  his  following  alighted  on 
the  Missaka  mountain1  whither  King  Devanampiya  Tissa  had 
gone  in  the  course  of  a  hunt.  The  monks  and  the  royal  cortege 
met:  Mahinda,  after  testing  the  king's  intellectual  capacity  by 
some  curious  dialectical  puzzles,  had  no  difficulty  in  converting 
him2.  Next  morning  he  proceeded  to  Anuradhapura  and  was 
received  with  all  honour  and  enthusiasm.  He  preached  first  in 
the  palace  and  then  to  enthusiastic  audiences  of  the  general 
public.  In  these  discourses  he  dwelt  chiefly  on  the  terrible 
punishment  awaiting  sinners  in  future  existences3. 

We  need  not  follow  in  detail  the  picturesque  account  of  the 
rapid  conversion  of  the  capital.  The  king  made  over  to  the 
Church  the  Mahamegha  garden  and  proceeded  to  construct  a 
series  of  religious  edifices  in  Anuradhapura  and  its  neighbour 
hood.  The  catalogue  of  them  is  given  in  the  Mahavamsa4  and 
the  most  important  was  the  Mahavihara  monastery,  which 
became  specially  famous  and  influential  in  the  history  of  Bud 
dhism.  It  was  situated  in  the  Mahamegha  garden  close  to  the 
Bo-tree  and  was  regarded  as  the  citadel  of  orthodoxy.  Its  sub 
sequent  conflicts  with  the  later  Abhayagiri  monastery  are  the 
chief  theme  of  Sinhalese  ecclesiastical  history  and  our  version 
of  the  Pali  Pitakas  is  the  one  which  received  its  imprimatur. 

Tissa  is  represented  as  having  sent  two  further  missions  to 
India.  The  first  went  in  quest  of  relics  and  made  its  way  not 
only  to  Pataliputra  but  to  the  court  of  Indra,  king  of  the  gods, 
and  the  relics  obtained,  of  which  the  principal  was  the  Buddha's 
alms-bowl5,  were  deposited  in  Anuradhapura.  The  king  then 
built  the  Thuparama  dagoba  over  them  and  there  is  no  reason 

1  The  modern  Mahintale. 

2  The  Mahavamsa  implies  that  he  had  already  some  acquaintance  with  Bud 
dhism.   It  represents  him  as  knowing  that  monks  do  not  eat  in  the  afternoon  and 
as  suggesting  that  it  would  be  better  to  ordain  the  layman  Bhandu. 

8  The  chronicles  give  with  some  slight  divergences  the  names  of  the  texts  on 
which  his  preaching  was  based.  It  is  doubtless  meant  that  he  recited  the  Sutta 
with  a  running  exposition. 

*  Mahavam.  xx.  17. 

5  Many  other  places  claimed  to  possess  this  relic. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  17 

to  doubt  that  the  building  which  now  bears  this  name  is  genuine. 
The  story  may  therefore  be  true  to  the  extent  that  relics  were 
brought  from  India  at  this  early  period. 

The  second  mission  was  despatched  to  bring  a  branch  of  the 
tree1  under  which  the  Buddha  had  sat  when  he  obtained  en 
lightenment.  This  narrative2  is  perhaps  based  on  a  more  solid 
substratum  of  fact.  The  chronicles  connect  the  event  with  the 
desire  of  the  Princess  Anula  to  become  a  nun.  Women  could 
receive  ordination  only  from  ordained  nuns  and  as  these  were 
not  to  be  found  on  the  island  it  was  decided  to  ask  Asoka  to 
send  a  branch  of  the  sacred  tree  and  also  Mahinda's  sister 
Sanghamitta,  a  religieuse  of  eminence.  The  mission  was  success 
ful.  A  branch  from  the  Bo-tree  was  detached,  conveyed  by 
Asoka  to  the  coast  with  much  ceremony  and  received  in  Ceylon 
by  Tissa  with  equal  respect.  The  princess  accompanied  it.  The 
Bo-tree  was  planted  in  the  Meghavana  garden.  It  may  still  be 
seen  and  attracts  pilgrims  not  only  from  Ceylon  but  from 
Burma  and  Siam.  Unlike  the  buildings  of  Anuradhapura  it  has 
never  been  entirely  neglected  and  it  is  clear  that  it  has  been 
venerated  as  the  Bo-tree  from  an  early  period  of  Sinhalese  history. 
Botanists  consider  its  long  life,  though  remarkable,  not  impossible 
since  trees  of  this  species  throw  up  fresh  shoots  from  the  roots  near 
the  parent  stem.  The  sculptures  at  Sanchi  represent  a  branch  of 
a  sacred  tree  being  carried  in  procession,  though  no  inscription  at 
tests  its  destination,  and  Fa-Hsiensays  that  he  saw  the  tree3.  The 
author  of  the  first  part  of  the  Mahavamsa  clearly  regards  it  as 
already  ancient,  and  throughout  the  history  of  Ceylon  there  are 
references  to  the  construction  of  railings  and  terraces  to  protect  it. 

Devanampiya  Tissa  probably  died  in  207  B.C.  In  177  the 
kingdom  passed  into  the  hands  of  Tamil  monarchs  who  were 
not  Buddhists,  although  the  chroniclers  praise  their  justice  and 
the  respect  which  they  showed  to  the  Church.  The  most  im 
portant  of  them,  Elara,  reigned  for  forty-four  years  and  was 
dethroned  by  a  descendant  of  Tissa,  called  Dutthagamani 4. 

1  Of  course  the  antiquity  of  the  Sinhalese  Bo-tree  is  a  different  question  from 
the  identity  of  the  parent  tree  with  the  tree  under  which  the  Buddha  sat. 

2  Mahavam.  xvm. ;  Dipavam.  xv.  and  xvi. 

8  But  he  says  nothing  about  Mahinda  or  Sanghamitta  and  does  not  support  the 
Mahavamsa  in  details. 

*  Duttha,  meaning  bad,  angry  or  violent,  apparently  refers  to  the  ferocity 
shown  in  his  struggle  with  the  Tamils. 


The  exploits  of  this  prince  are  recorded  at  such  length  in 
the  Mahavamsa  (xxn.-xxxii.)  as  to  suggest  that  they  formed 
the  subject  of  a  separate  popular  epic,  in  which  he  figured  as 
the  champion  of  Sinhalese  against  the  Tamils,  and  therefore  as 
a  devout  Buddhist.  On  ascending  the  throne  he  felt,  like 
Asoka,  remorse  for  the  bloodshed  which  had  attended  his  early 
life  and  strove  to  atone  for  it  by  good  works,  especially  the 
construction  of  sacred  edifices.  The  most  important  of  these 
were  the  Lohapasada  or  Copper  Palace  and  the  Mahathupa  or 
Ruwanweli  Dagoba.  The  former1  was  a  monastery  roofed  or 
covered  with  copper  plates.  Its  numerous  rooms  were  richly 
decorated  and  it  consisted  of  nine  storeys,  of  which  the  four 
uppermost  were  set  apart  for  Arhats,  and  the  lower  assigned  to 
the  inferior  grades  of  monks.  Perhaps  the  nine  storeys  are  an 
exaggeration:  at  any  rate  the  building  suffered  from  fire  and 
underwent  numerous  reconstructions  and  modifications.  King 
Mahasena  (301  A.D.)  destroyed  it  and  then  repenting  of  his 
errors  rebuilt  it,  but  the  ruins  now  representing  it  at  Anurad- 
hapura,  which  consist  of  stone  pillars  only,  date  from  the  reign 
of  Parakrama  Bahu  I  (about  A.D.  1150).  The  immense  pile  known 
as  the  Ruwanweli  Dagoba,  though  often  injured  by  invaders  in 
search  of  treasure,  still  exists.  The  somewhat  dilapidated  ex 
terior  is  merely  an  outer  shell,  enclosing  a  smaller  dagoba2. 
This  is  possibly  the  structure  erected  by  Dutthagamani,  though 
tradition  says  that  there  is  a  still  smaller  edifice  inside.  The 
foundation  and  building  of  the  original  structure  are  related  at 
great  length3.  Crowds  of  distinguished  monks  came  to  see  the 
first  stone  laid,  even  from  Kashmir  and  Alasanda.  Some  have 
identified  the  latter  name  with  Alexandria  in  Egypt,  but  it 
probably  denotes  a  Greek  city  on  the  Indus4.  But  in  any  case 
tradition  represents  Buddhists  from  all  parts  of  India  as  taking 
part  in  the  ceremony  and  thus  recognizing  the  unity  of  Indian 
and  Sinhalese  Buddhism. 

1  Dipavamsa  xix.    1.    Mahavamsa  xxvu.    1-48.    See  Fergusson,   Hist.   Ind. 
Architecture,  1910,  pp.  238,  246.   I  find  it  hard  to  picture  such  a  building  raised  on 
pillars.    Perhaps  it  was  something  like  the  Sat-mahal-prasada  at  Pollanarua. 

2  Parker,  Ancient  Ceylon,  p.  282.  The  restoration  of  the  Ruwanweli  Dagoba  was 
undertaken  by  Buddhists  in  1873. 

8  Mahavamsa  xxvm.-xxxi.   Dutthagamani  died  before  it  was  finished. 
4  Mahavamsa  xxix.  37.    Yonanagaralasanda.  The  town  is  also  mentioned  as 
situated  on  an  Island  in  the  Indus:  Mil.  Pan.  in.  7.  4. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  19 

Of  great  importance  for  the  history  of  the  Sinhalese  Church 
is  the  reign  of  Vattagamani  Abhaya  who  after  being  dethroned 
by  Tamils  recovered  his  kingdom  and  reigned  for  twelve  years1. 
He  built  a  new  monastery  and  dagoba  known  as  Abhayagiri2, 
which  soon  became  the  enemy  of  the  Mahavihara  and  heterodox, 
if  the  latter  is  to  be  considered  orthodox.  The  account  of  the 
schism  given  in  the  Mahavamsa3  is  obscure,  but  the  dispute 
resulted  in  the  Pitakas,  which  had  hitherto  been  preserved 
orally,  being  committed  to  writing.  The  council  which  defined 
and  edited  the  scriptures  was  not  attended  by  all  the  monas 
teries  of  Ceylon,  but  only  by  the  monks  of  the  Mahavihara,  and 
the  text  which  they  wrote  down  was  their  special  version  and 
not  universally  accepted.  It  included  the  Parivara,  which  was 
apparently  a  recent  manual  composed  in  Ceylon.  The  Maha 
vamsa  says  no  more  about  this  schism,  but  the  Nikaya-Sangra- 
hawa4  says  that  the  monks  of  the  Abhayagiri  monastery  now 
embraced  the  doctrines  of  the  Vajjiputta  school  (one  of  the 
seventeen  branches  of  the  Mahasanghikas)  which  was  known  in 
Ceylon  as  the  Dhammaruci  school  from  an  eminent  teacher  of 
that  name.  Many  pious  kings  followed  who  built  or  repaired 
sacred  edifices  and  Buddhism  evidently  flourished,  but  we  also 
hear  of  heresy.  In  the  third  century  A.D.5  King  Voharaka  Tissa 
suppressed6  the  Vetulyas.  This  sect  was  connected  with  the 
Abhayagiri  monastery,  but,  though  it  lasted  until  the  twelfth 
century,  I  have  found  no  Sinhalese  account  of  its  tenets.  It  is 
represented  as  the  worst  of  heresies,  which  was  suppressed  by 

1  According  to  the  common  reckoning  B.C.  88-76:  according  to  Geiger  B.C. 
29-17.    It  seems  probable  that  in  the  early  dates  of  Sinhalese  history  there  is  an 
error  of  about  62  years.    See  Geiger,  Trans.  Mahavamsa,  pp.  xxx  ff.  and  Fleet, 
J.R.A.S.  1909,  pp.  323-356. 

2  For  the  site  see  Parker's  Ancient  Ceylon,  pp.  299  ff.  The  Mahavamsa  (xxxm. 
79  and  x.  98-100)  says  it  was  built  on  the  site  of  an  ancient  Jain  establishment 
and  Kern  thinks  that  this  tradition  hints  at  circumstances  which  account  for  the 
heretical  and  contentious  spirit  of  the  Abhaya  monks. 

3  Mahav.  xxxm.  100-104.   See  too  the  Tika  quote  by  Tumour  in  his  introduc 
tion,  p.  liii. 

4  A  work  on  ecclesiastical  history  written  about  1395.   Ed.  and  Trans.  Colombo 
Record  Office. 

6  The  probable  error  in  Sinhalese  dates  mentioned  in  a  previous  note  continues 
till  the  twelfth  century  A.D.  though  gradually  decreasing.  For  the  early  centuries 
of  the  Christian  era  it  is  probable  that  the  accepted  dates  should  be  put  half  a 
century  later 

6  Mahavamsa  xxxvi.  41.  Vetulyavadam  madditva.  According  to  the  Nikaya 
Sang,  he  burnt  their  Pitaka. 


all  orthodox  kings  but  again  and  again  revived,  or  was  re- 
introduced  from  India.  Though  it  always  found  a  footing 
at  the  Abhayagiri  it  was  not  officially  recognized  as  the 
creed  of  that  Monastery  which  since  the  time  of  Vattagamani 
seems  to  have  professed  the  relatively  orthodox  doctrine  called 

Mention  is  made  in  the  Katha-vatthu  of  heretics  who  held 
that  the  Buddha  remained  in  the  Tusita  heaven  and  that  the 
law  was  preached  on  earth  not  by  him  but  by  Ananda  and  the 
commentary1  ascribes  these  views  to  the  Vetulyakas.  The 
reticence  of  the  Sinhalese  chronicles  makes  it  doubtful  whether 
the  Vetulyakas  of  Ceylon  and  these  heretics  are  identical 
but  probably  the  monks  of  the  Abhayagiri,  if  not  strictly 
speaking  Mahayanist,  were  an  off-shoot  of  an  ancient  sect 
which  contained  some  germs  of  the  Mahayana.  Hsiian  Chuang 
in  his  narrative2  states  (probably  from  hearsay)  that  the  monks 
of  the  Mahavihara  were  Hinayanists  but  that  both  vehicles 
were  studied  at  the  Abhayagiri.  I-Ching  on  the  contrary  says 
expressly  that  all  the  Sinhalese  belonged  to  the  Aryasthavira 
Nikaya.  Fa-Hsien  describes  the  Buddhism  of  Ceylon  as  he 
saw  it  about  412  A. D.,  but  does  not  apply  to  it  the  terms  Hina 
or  Mahayana.  He  evidently  regarded  the  Abhayagiri  as  the 
principal  religious  centre  and  says  it  had  5000  monks  as  against 
3000  in  the  Mahavihara,  but  though  he  dwells  on  the  gorgeous 
ceremonial,  the  veneration  of  the  sacred  tooth,  the  representa 
tions  of  Gotama's  previous  lives,  and  the  images  of  Maitreya, 
he  does  not  allude  to  the  worship  of  Avalokita  and  Mafijusri  or 
to  anything  that  can  be  called  definitely  Mahayanist.  He 
describes  a  florid  and  somewhat  superstitious  worship  which 
may  have  tended  to  regard  the  Buddha  as  superhuman,  but  the 
relics  of  Gotama's  body  were  its  chief  visible  symbols  and  we 
have  no  ground  for  assuming  that  such  teaching  as  is  found  in 
the  Lotus  sutra  was  its  theological  basis.  Yet  we  may  legiti 
mately  suspect  that  the  traditions  of  the  Abhayagiri  remount 
to  early  prototypes  of  that  teaching. 

In  the  second  and  third  centuries  the  Court  seems  to  have 
favoured  the  Mahavihara  and  King  Gothabhaya  banished 

1  On  Katha-vat.  xvm.  1  and  2.  Printed  in  the  Journal  of  the  Pali  Text  Soc.  for 

2  Watters,  n.  234.  Of.  Hsiian  Chuang's  life,  chap.  iv. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  21 

monks  belonging  to  the  Vetulya  sect1,  but  in  spite  of  this  a 
monk  of  the  Abhayagiri  named  Sanghamitta  obtained  his  con 
fidence  and  that  of  his  son,  Mahasena,  who  occupied  the  throne 
from  275  to  302  A.D.  The  Mahavihara  was  destroyed  and  its 
occupants  persecuted  at  Sanghamitta's  instigation  but  he  was 
murdered  and  after  his  death  the  great  Monastery  was  rebuilt. 
The  triumph  however  was  not  complete  for  Mahasena  built  a 
new  monastery  called  Jetavana  on  ground  belonging  to  the 
Mahavihara  and  asked  the  monks  to  abandon  this  portion  of 
their  territory.  They  refused  and  according  to  the  Mahavamsa 
ultimately  succeeded  in  proving  their  rights  before  a  court  of 
law.  But  the  Jetavana  remained  as  the  headquarters  of  a  sect 
known  as  Sagaliyas.  They  appear  to  have  been  moderately 
orthodox,  but  to  have  had  their  own  text  of  the  Vinaya  for 
according  to  the  Commentary2  on  the  Mahavamsa  they  "separ 
ated  the  two  Vibhangas  of  the  Bhagava3  from  the  Vinaya . . . 
altering  their  meaning  and  misquoting  their  contents."  In 
the  opinion  of  the  Mahavihara  both  the  Abhayagiri  and  Jeta 
vana  were  schismatical,  but  the  laity  appear  to  have  given 
their  respect  and  offerings  to  all  three  impartially  and  the 
Mahavamsa  several  times  records  how  the  same  individual 
honoured  the  three  Confraternities. 

With  the  death  of  Mahasena  ends  the  first  and  oldest  part 
of  the  Mahavamsa,  and  also  in  native  opinion  the  grand  period 
of  Sinhalese  history,  the  subsequent  kings  being  known  as  the 
Culavamsa  or  minor  dynasty.  A  continuation4  of  the  chronicle 
takes  up  the  story  and  tells  of  the  doings  of  Mahasena's  son 
Sirimeghavanna5.  Judged  by  the  standard  of  the  Mahavihara, 
he  was  fairly  satisfactory.  He  rebuilt  the  Lohapasada  and 
caused  a  golden  image  of  Mahinda  to  be  made  and  carried  in 

1  Mahavara.  xxxvi.  iii.  ff.  Gothabhaya's  date  was  probably  302-315  and  Maha 
sena's  325-352.  The  common  chronology  makes  Gothabhaya  reign  from  244  to 
257  and  Mahasena  from  269  to  296  A.D. 

2  Quoted  by  Tumour,  Introd.  p.  liii.    The  Mahavam.  v.  13,  expressly  states 
that  the  Dhammaruci  and  Sagaliya  sects  originated  in  Ceylon. 

3  I.e.  as  I  understand,  the  two  divisions  of  the  Sutta  Vibhanga. 

4  It  was  written  up  to  date  at  various  periods.  The  chapters  which  take  up  the 
history  after  the  death  of  Mahasena  are  said  to  be  the  work  of  Dhammakitti,  who 
lived  about  1250. 

5  He  was  a  contemporary  of  the  Gupta  King  Samudragupta  who  reigned  approxi 
mately.  330-375  A.D.  See  S.  Levi  in  J.A.  1900,  pp.  316  ff,  401  ff.  This  synchronism 
is  a  striking  confirmation  of  Fleet  and  Geiger's  chronology. 


procession.  This  veneration  of  the  founder  of  a  local  church  re 
minds  one  of  the  respect  shown  to  the  images  of  half -deified 
abbots  in  Tibet,  China  and  Japan.  But  the  king  did  not  neglect 
the  Abhayagiri  or  assign  it  a  lower  position  than  the  Mahavihara 
for  he  gave  it  partial  custody  of  the  celebrated  relic  known  as 
the  Buddha's  tooth  which  was  brought  to  Ceylon  from  Kalinga 
in  the  ninth  year  of  his  reign  and  has  ever  since  been  considered 
the  palladium  of  the  island. 

It  may  not  be  amiss  to  consider  here  briefly  what  is  known 
of  the  history  of  the  Buddha's  relics  and  especially  of  this  tooth. 
Of  the  minor  distinctions  between  Buddhism  and  Hinduism  one 
of  the  sharpest  is  this  cultus.  Hindu  temples  are  often  erected 
over  natural  objects  supposed  to  resemble  the  footprint  or  some 
member  of  a  deity  and  sometimes  tombs  receive  veneration1. 
But  no  case  appears  to  be  known  in  which  either  Hindus  or 
Jains  show  reverence  to  the  bones  or  other  fragments  of  a  human 
body.  It  is  hence  remarkable  that  relic-worship  should  be  so 
wide -spread  in  Buddhism  and  appear  so  early  in  its  history. 
The  earliest  Buddhist  monuments  depict  figures  worshipping  at 
a  stupa,  which  was  probably  a  reliquary,  and  there  is  no  reason 
to  distrust  the  traditions  which  carry  the  practice  back  at 
least  to  the  reign  of  Asoka.  The  principal  cause  for  its  prevalence 
was  no  doubt  that  Buddhism,  while  creating  a  powerful  religious 
current,  provided  hardly  any  objects  of  worship  for  the  faithful2. 
It  is  also  probable  that  the  rudiments  of  relic  worship  existed 
in  the  districts  frequented  by  the  Buddha.  The  account  of  his 
death  states  that  after  the  cremation  of  his  body  the  Mallas 
placed  his  bones  in  their  council  hall  and  honoured  them  with 
songs  and  dances.  Then  eight  communities  or  individuals  de 
manded  a  portion  of  the  relics  and  over  each  portion  a  cairn 
was  built.  These  proceedings  are  mentioned  as  if  they  were  the 
usual  ceremonial  observed  on  the  death  of  a  great  man  and  in 

1  E.g.  the  tomb  of  Ramanuja  at  Srirangam. 

2  For  a  somewhat  similar  reason  the  veneration  of  relics  is  prevalent  among 
Moslims.    Islam  indeed  provides  an  object  of  worship  but  its  ceremonies  are  so 
austere  and  monotonous  that  any  devotional  practices  which  are  not  forbidden  as 
idolatrous  are  welcome  to  the  devout. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  23 

the  same  Sutta1  the  Buddha  himself  mentions  four  classes  of 
men  worthy  of  a  cairn  or  dagoba2.  We  may  perhaps  conclude 
that  in  the  earliest  ages  of  Buddhism  it  was  usual  in  north 
eastern  India  to  honour  the  bones  of  a  distinguished  man  after 
cremation  and  inter  them  under  a  monument.  This  is  not 
exactly  relic  worship  but  it  has  in  it  the  root  of  the  later  tree. 
The  Pitakas  contain  little  about  the  practice  but  the  Milinda 
Panha  discusses  the  question  at  length  and  in  one  passage3 
endeavours  to  reconcile  two  sayings  of  the  Buddha,  "Hinder 
not  yourselves  by  honouring  the  remains  of  the  Tathagatha" 
and  "Honour  that  relic  of  him  who  is  worthy  of  honour."  It  is 
the  first  utterance  rather  than  the  second  that  seems  to  have 
the  genuine  ring  of  Gotama. 

The  earliest  known  relics  are  those  discovered  in  the  stupa 
of  Piprava  on  the  borders  of  Nepal  in  1898.  Their  precise  nature 
and  the  date  of  the  inscription  describing  them  have  been  the 
subject  of  much  discussion.  Some  authorities  think  that  this 
stupa  may  be  one  of  those  erected  over  a  portion  of  the  Buddha's 
ashes  after  his  funeral.  Even  Barth,  a  most  cautious  and 
sceptical  scholar,  admitted4  first  that  the  inscription  is  not 
later  than  Asoka,  secondly  that  the  vase  is  a  reliquary  con 
taining  what  were  believed  to  be  bones  of  the  Buddha.  Thus  in 
the  time  of  Asoka  the  worship  of  the  Buddha's  relics  was  well 
known  and  I  see  no  reason  why  the  inscription  should  not  be 
anterior  to  that  time. 

According  to  Buddhaghosa's  Sumangalavildsini  and  Sin 
halese  texts  which  though  late  are  based  on  early  material5, 
Mahakassapa  instigated  Ajatasattu  to  collect  the  relics  of  the 
Buddha,  and  to  place  them  in  a  stupa,  there  to  await  the 
advent  of  Asoka.  In  Asoka's  time  the  stupa  had  become  over 
grown  and  hidden  by  jungle  but  when  the  king  was  in  search  of 
relics,  its  position  was  revealed  to  him.  He  found  inside  it  an 
inscription  authorizing  him  to  disperse  the  contents  and  pro- 

1  Dig.  Nik.  xvi.  v.  27. 

2  Plutarch  mentions  a  story  that  the  relics  of  King  Menander  were  similarly 
divided  into  eight  portions  but  the  story  may  be  merely  a  replica  of  the  obsequies 
of  the  Buddha. 

3  iv.  3,  24.  The  first  text  is  from  Mahaparinibbana  Sutta,  v.  24.  The  second  has 
not  been  identified. 

4  Journal  des  Savants,  Oct.  1906. 

6  See  Norman,  "  Buddhist  legends  of  Asoka  and  his  times,"  in  J.A.8.  Beng.  1910. 


ceeded  to  distribute  them  among  the  84,000  monasteries  which 
he  is  said  to  have  constructed. 

In  its  main  outlines  this  account  is  probable.  Ajatasattu 
conquered  the  Licchavis  and  other  small  states  to  the  north  of 
Magadha  and  if  he  was  convinced  of  the  importance  of  the 
Buddha's  relics  it  would  be  natural  that  he  should  transport 
them  to  his  capital,  regarding  them  perhaps  as  talismans1. 
Here  they  were  neglected,  though  not  damaged,  in  the  reigns 
of  Brahmanical  kings  and  were  rescued  from  oblivion  by  Asoka, 
who  being  sovereign  of  all  India  and  anxious  to  spread  Buddhism 
throughout  his  dominions  would  be  likely  to  distribute  the 
relics  as  widely  as  he  distributed  his  pillars  and  inscriptions. 
But  later  Buddhist  kings  could  not  emulate  this  imperial  im 
partiality  and  we  may  surmise  that  such  a  monarch  as  Kanishka 
would  see  to  it  that  all  the  principal  relics  in  northern  India 
found  their  way  to  his  capital.  The  bones  discovered  at  Pesha 
war  are  doubtless  those  considered  most  authentic  in  his  reign. 

Next  to  the  tooth,  the  most  interesting  relic  of  the  Buddha 
was  his  patra  or  alms-bowl,  which  plays  a  part  somewhat  similar 
to  that  of  the  Holy  Grail  in  Christian  romance.  The  Mahavamsa 
states  that  Asoka  sent  it  to  Ceylon,  but  the  Chinese  pilgrim 
Fa-Hsien2  saw  it  at  Peshawar  about  405  A.D.  It  was  shown  to 
the  people  daily  at  the  midday  and  evening  services.  The  pilgrim 
thought  it  contained  about  two  pecks  yet  such  were  its  miracu 
lous  properties  that  the  poor  could  fill  it  with  a  gift  of  a  few 
flowers,  whereas  the  rich  cast  in  myriads  of  bushels  and  found 
there  was  still  room  for  more.  A  few  years  later  Fa-Hsien 
heard  a  sermon  in  Ceylon3  in  which  the  preacher  predicted  that 
the  bowl  would  be  taken  in  the  course  of  centuries  to  Central 
Asia,  China,  Ceylon  and  Central  India  whence  it  would  ulti 
mately  ascend  to  the  Tusita  heaven  for  the  use  of  the  future 
Buddha.  Later  accounts  to  some  extent  record  the  fulfilment 
of  these  predictions  inasmuch  as  they  relate  how  the  bowl  (or 
bowls)  passed  from  land  to  land  but  the  story  of  its  wandering 
may  have  little  foundation  since  it  is  combined  with  the  idea 
that  it  is  wafted  from  shrine  to  shrine  according  as  the  faith  is 
flourishing  or  decadent.  Hsiian  Chuang  says  that  it  "had  gone 

1  Just  as  the  Tooth  was  considered  to  be  the  palladium  of  Sinhalese  kings. 

2  Record  of  Buddhist  kingdoms.    Legge,  pp.  34,  35.    Fa-Hsien  speaks  of  the 
country  not  the  town  of  Peshawar  (Purushapura). 

8  Ibid.  p.  109.  Fa-Hsien  does  not  indicate  that  at  this  time  there  was  a  rival 
bowl  in  Ceylon  but  represents  the  preacher  as  saying  it  was  then  in  Gandhara. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  25 

on  from  Peshawar  to  several  countries  and  was  now  in  Persia1." 
A  Mohammedan  legend  relates  that  it  is  at  Kandahar  and  will 
contain  any  quantity  of  liquid  without  overflowing.  Marco 
Polo  says  Kublai  Khan  sent  an  embassy  in  1284  to  bring  it 
from  Ceylon  to  China2. 

The  wanderings  of  the  tooth,  though  almost  as  surprising 
as  those  of  the  bowl,  rest  on  better  historical  evidence,  but 
there  is  probably  more  continuity  in  the  story  than  in  the  holy 
object  of  which  it  is  related,  for  the  piece  of  bone  which  is 
credited  with  being  the  left  canine  tooth  of  the  Blessed  One 
may  have  been  changed  on  more  than  one  occasion.  The  Sin 
halese  chronicles3,  as  mentioned,  say  that  it  was  brought  to 
Ceylon  in  the  ninth  year  of  Sirimeghavanna4.  This  date  may  be 
approximately  correct  for  about  413  or  later  Fa-Hsien  described 
the  annual  festival  of  the  tooth,  during  which  it  was  exposed 
for  veneration  at  the  Abhayagiri  monastery,  without  indicating 
that  the  usage  was  recent. 

The  tooth  did  not,  according  to  Sinhalese  tradition,  form 
part  of  the  relics  distributed  after  the  cremation  of  the  Buddha. 
Seven  bones,  including  four  teeth5,  were  excepted  from  that 
distribution  and  the  Sage  Khema  taking  the  left  canine  tooth 
direct  from  the  funeral  pyre  gave  it  to  the  king  of  Kalinga,  who 
enshrined  it  in  a  gorgeous  temple  at  Dantapura6  where  it  is 
supposed  to  have  remained  800  years.  At  the  end  of  that  period 

1  Waiters,  i.  pp.  202,  203.    But  the  life  of  Hsiian  Chuang  says  Benares  not 

2  Marco  Polo  trans.  Yule,  n.  pp.  320,  330. 

3  For  the  history  of  the  tooth  see  Mahdmmsa,  p.  241,  in  Tumour's  edition:  the 
Dathavamsa  in  Pali  written  by  Dhammakitti  in  1211  A.D.  :  and  the  Sinhalese 
poems  Daladapujavali  and  Dhatuvansaya.    See  also  Da  Cunha,  Memoir  on  the 
History  of  the  Tooth  Relic  of  Ceylon,  1875,  and  Yule's  notes  on  Marco  Polo,  n. 
pp.  328-330. 

4  I.e.  about  361  or  310,  according  to  which  chronology  is  adopted,  but  neither 
Fa-Hsien  or  Hsiian  Chuang  says  anything  about  its  arrival  from  India  and  this 
part  of  the  story  might  be  dismissed  as  a  legend.    But  seeing  how  extraordinary 
were  the  adventures  of  the  tooth  in  historical  times,  it  would  be  unreasonable  to 
deny  that  it  may  have  been  smuggled  out  of  India  for  safety. 

6  Various  accounts  are  given  of  the  disposal  of  these  teeth,  but  more  than  enough 
relics  were  preserved  in  various  shrines  to  account  for  all.  Hsiian  Chuang  saw  or 
heard  of  sacred  teeth  in  Balkh,  Nagar,  Kashmir,  Kanauj  and  Ceylon.  Another 
tooth  is  said  to  be  kept  near  Foo-chow. 

6  Plausibly  supposed  to  be  Puri.  The  ceremonies  still  observed  in  the  temple  of 
Jagannath  are  suspected  of  being  based  on  Buddhist  rites.  Dantapura  of  theKalingas 
is  however  mentioned  in  some  verses  quoted  in  Digha  Nikaya  xix.  36.  This  looks 
as  if  the  name  might  be  pre-Buddhist. 


a  pious  king  named  Guhasiva  became  involved  in  disastrous 
wars  on  account  of  the  relic,  and,  as  the  best  means  of  pre 
serving  it,  bade  his  daughter  fly  with  her  husband1  and  take  it 
to  Ceylon.  This,  after  some  miraculous  adventures,  they  were 
able  to  do.  The  tooth  was  received  with  great  ceremony  and 
lodged  in  an  edifice  called  the  Dhammacakka  from  which  it 
was  taken  every  year  for  a  temporary  sojourn2  in  the  Abhaya- 
giri  monastery. 

The  cultus  of  the  tooth  flourished  exceedingly  in  the  next 
few  centuries  and  it  came  to  be  regarded  as  the  talisman  of  the 
king  and  nation.  Hence  when  the  court  moved  from  Anura- 
dhapura  to  Pollunaruwa  it  was  installed  in  the  new  capital.  In 
the  troubled  times  which  followed  it  changed  its  residence  some 
fifteen  times.  Early  in  the  fourteenth  century  it  was  carried  off 
by  the  Tamils  to  southern  India  but  was  recovered  by  Parakrama 
Bahu  III  and  during  the  commotion  created  by  the  invasions 
of  the  Tamils,  Chinese  and  Portuguese  it  was  hidden  in  various 
cities.  In  1560  Dom  Constantino  de  Bragan9a,  Portuguese 
Viceroy  of  Goa,  led  a  crusade  against  Jaffna  to  avenge  the 
alleged  persecution  of  Christians,  and  when  the  town  was 
sacked  a  relic,  described  as  the  tooth  of  an  ape  mounted  in 
gold,  was  found  in  a  temple  and  carried  off  to  Goa.  On  this 
Bayin  Naung,  King  of  Pegu,  offered  an  enormous  ransom  to 
redeem  it,  which  the  secular  government  wished  to  accept,  but 
the  clergy  and  inquisition  put  such  pressure  on  the  Viceroy 
that  he  rejected  the  proposal.  The  archbishop  of  Goa  pounded 
the  tooth  in  a  mortar  before  the  viceregal  court,  burned  the 
fragments  and  scattered  the  ashes  over  the  sea3. 

But  the  singular  result  of  this  bigotry  was  not  to  destroy 
one  sacred  tooth  but  to  create  two.  The  king  of  Pegu,  who 
wished  to  marry  a  Sinhalese  princess,  sent  an  embassy  to  Ceylon 
to  arrange  the  match.  They  were  received  by  the  king  of  Cotta, 
who  bore  the  curiously  combined  name  of  Don  Juan  Dharma- 
pala.  He  had  no  daughter  of  his  own  but  palmed  off  the  daugh 
ter  of  a  chamberlain.  At  the  same  time  he  informed  the  king 

1  They  are  called  Ranmali  and  Danta  in  the  Rajavaliya. 

2  There  is  a  striking  similarity  between  this  rite  and  the  ceremonies  observed  at 
Puri,  where  the  images  of  Jagannatha  and  his  relatives  are  conveyed  every  summer 
with  great  pomp  to  a  country  residence  where  they  remain  during  some  weeks. 

3  See  Tennent's  Ceylon,  vol.  n.  pp.  29,  30  and  199  ff.  and  the  Portuguese 
uthorities  quoted. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  27 

of  Pegu  that  the  tooth  destroyed  at  Goa  was  not  the  real  relic 
and  that  this  still  remained  in  his  possession.  Bayin  Naung  was 
induced  to  marry  the  lady  and  received  the  tooth  with  appro 
priate  ceremonies.  But  when  the  king  of  Kandy  heard  of  these 
doings,  he  apprized  the  king  of  Pegu  of  the  double  trick  that 
had  been  played  on  him.  He  offered  him  his  own  daughter,  a 
veritable  princess,  in  marriage  and  as  her  dowry  the  true  tooth 
which,  he  said,  was  neither  that  destroyed  at  Goa  nor  yet  that 
sent  to  Pegu,  but  one  in  his  own  possession.  Bayin  Naung 
received  the  Kandyan  embassy  politely  but  rejected  its  pro 
posals,  thinking  no  doubt  that  it  would  be  awkward  to  declare 
the  first  tooth  spurious  after  it  had  been  solemnly  installed  as 
a  sacred  relic.  The  second  tooth  therefore  remained  in  Kandy 
and  appears  to  be  that  now  venerated  there.  When  Vimala 
Dharma  re-established  the  original  line  of  kings,  about  1592, 
it  was  accepted  as  authentic. 

As  to  its  authenticity,  it  appears  to  be  beyond  doubt  that 
it  is  a  piece  of  discoloured  bone  about  two  inches  long,  which 
could  never  have  been  the  tooth  of  an  ordinary  human  being, 
so  that  even  the  faithful  can  only  contend  that  the  Buddha 
was  of  superhuman  stature.  Whether  it  is  the  relic  which  was 
venerated  in  Ceylon  before  the  arrival  of  the  Portuguese  is  a 
more  difficult  question,  for  it  may  be  argued  with  equal  plausi 
bility  that  the  Sinhalese  had  good  reasons  for  hiding  the  real 
tooth  and  good  reasons  for  duplicating  it.  The  strongest  argu 
ment  against  the  authenticity  of  the  relic  destroyed  by  the 
Portuguese  is  that  it  was  found  in  Jaffna,  which  had  long  been 
a  Tamil  town,  whereas  there  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  the 
real  tooth  was  at  this  time  in  Tamil  custody.  But,  although  the 
native  literature  always  speaks  of  it  as  unique,  the  Sinhalese 
appear  to  have  produced  replicas  more  than  once,  for  we  hear 
of  such  being  sent  to  Burma  and  China1.  Again,  the  offer  to 
ransom  the  tooth  came  not  from  Ceylon  but  from  the  king  of 
Pegu,  who,  as  the  sequel  shows,  was  gullible  in  such  matters: 
the  Portuguese  clearly  thought  that  they  had  acquired  a  relic 
of  primary  importance;  on  any  hypothesis  one  of  the  kings  of 
Ceylon  must  have  deceived  the  king  of  Pegu,  and  finally  Vimala 
Dharma  had  the  strongest  political  reasons  for  accepting  as 

1  Fortune  in  Two  Visits  to  Tea  Countries  of  China,  vol.  n.  pp.  107-8,  describes 
one  of  these  teeth  preserved  in  the  Ku-shan  monastery  near  Foo-chow. 

E.  m.  3 


genuine  the  relic  kept  at  Kandy,  since  the  possession  of  the  true 
tooth  went  far  to  substantiate  a  Sinhalese  monarch's  right  to 
the  throne. 

The  tooth  is  now  preserved  in  a  temple  at  Kandy.  The  visitor 
looking  through  a  screen  of  bars  can  see  on  a  silver  table  a 
large  jewelled  case  shaped  like  a  bell.  Flowers  scattered  on  the 
floor  or  piled  on  other  tables  fill  the  chamber  with  their  heavy 
perfume.  Inside  the  bell  are  six  other  bells  of  diminishing  size, 
the  innermost  of  which  covers  a  golden  lotus  containing  the 
sacred  tooth.  But  it  is  only  on  rare  occasions  that  the  outer 
caskets  are  removed.  Worshippers  as  a  rule  have  to  content 
themselves  with  offering  flowers1  and  bowing  but  I  was  informed 
that  the  priests  celebrate  puja  daily  before  the  relic.  The  cere 
mony  comprises  the  consecration  and  distribution  of  rice  and 
is  interesting  as  connecting  the  veneration  of  the  tooth  with 
the  ritual  observed  in  Hindu  temples.  But  we  must  return  to 
the  general  history  of  Buddhism  in  Ceylon. 

The  kings  who  ruled  in  the  fifth  century  were  devout  Bud 
dhists  and  builders  of  viharas  but  the  most  important  event  of 
this  period,  not  merely  for  the  island  but  for  the  whole  Buddhist 
church  in  the  south,  was  the  literary  activity  of  Buddhaghosa 
who  is  said  to  have  resided  in  Ceylon  during  the  reign  of 
Mahanama.  The  chief  authorities  for  his  life  are  a  passage  in 
the  continuation  of  the  Mahavamsa2  and  the  Buddhaghosup- 
patti,  a  late  Burmese  text  of  about  1550,  which,  while  adding 
many  anecdotes,  appears  not  to  come  from  an  independent 
source3.  The  gist  of  their  account  is  that  he  was  born  in  a  Brah 
man  family  near  Gaya  and  early  obtained  renown  as  a  disputant. 
He  was  converted  to  Buddhism  by  a  monk  named  Revata  and 
began  to  write  theological  treatises4.  Revata  observing  his 

1  This  practice  must  be  very  old.  The  Vinaya  of  the  Mulasarvastivadins  and 
similar  texts  speak  of  offering  flowers  to  a  tooth  of  the  Buddha.   See  J.A.  1914,  n. 
pp.  523,  543.  The  Pali  Canon  too  tells  us  that  the  relics  of  the  Buddha  were  honoured 
with  garlands  and  perfumes. 

2  Chap,  xxxvn. 

3  Both  probably  represent  the  tradition  current  at  the  Mahavihara,  but  accord 
ing  to  the  Talaing  tradition  Buddhaghosa  was  a  Brahman  born  at  Thaton. 

4  The  Mahavamsa  says  he  composed  the  Jnanodaya  and  Atthasalini  at  this 
time  before  starting  for  Ceylon. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  29 

intention  to  compose  a  commentary  on  the  Pitakas,  told  him 
that  only  the  text  (palimattam)  of  the  scriptures  was  to  be 
found  in  India,  not  the  ancient  commentaries,  but  that  the  Sin 
halese  commentaries  were  genuine,  having  been  composed  in 
that  language  by  Mahinda.  He  therefore  bade  Buddhaghosa 
repair  to  Ceylon  and  translate  these  Sinhalese  works  into  the 
idiom  of  Magadha,  by  which  Pali  must  be  meant.  Buddha 
ghosa  took  this  advice  and  there  is  no  reason  to  distrust  the 
statement  of  the  Mahavamsa  that  he  arrived  in  the  reign  of 
Mahanama,  who  ruled  according  to  Geiger  from  458  to  480, 
though  the  usual  reckoning  places  him  about  fifty  years  earlier. 
The  fact  that  Fa-Hsien,  who  visited  Ceylon  about  412,  does  not 
mention  Buddhaghosa  is  in  favour  of  Geiger's  chronology1. 

He  first  studied  in  the  Mahavihara  and  eventually  requested 
permission  to  translate  the  Sinhalese  commentaries.  To  prove 
his  competence  for  the  task  he  composed  the  celebrated  Visud- 
dhi-magga,  and,  this  being  considered  satisfactory,  he  took  up 
his  residence  in  the  Ganthakara  Vihara  and  proceeded  to  the 
work  of  translation.  When  it  was  finished  he  returned  to  India 
or  according  to  the  Talaing  tradition  to  Thaton.  The  Buddha- 
ghosuppatti  adds  two  stories  of  which  the  truth  and  meaning 
are  equally  doubtful.  They  are  that  Buddhaghosa  burnt  the 
works  written  by  Mahinda  and  that  his  knowledge  of  Sanskrit 
was  called  in  question  but  triumphantly  proved.  Can  there  be 
here  any  allusion  to  a  Sanskrit  canon  supported  by  the  oppo 
nents  of  the  Mahavihara? 

Even  in  its  main  outline  the  story  is  not  very  coherent  for 
one  would  imagine  that,  if  a  Buddhist  from  Magadha  went  to 
Ceylon  to  translate  the  Sinhalese  commentaries,  his  object 
must  have  been  to  introduce  them  among  Indian  Buddhists. 
But  there  is  no  evidence  that  Buddhaghosa  did  this  and  he  is 
for  us  simply  a  great  figure  in  the  literary  and  religious  history 
of  Ceylon.  Burmese  tradition  maintains  that  he  was  a  native 
of  Thaton  and  returned  thither,  when  his  labours  in  Ceylon 
were  completed,  to  spread  the  scriptures  in  his  native  language. 
This  version  of  his  activity  is  intelligible,  though  the  evidence 
for  it  is  weak. 

1  Fa-Hsien  is  chary  of  mentioning  contemporary  celebrities  but  he  refers  to  a 
well-known  monk  called  Ta-mo-kiu-ti  (?  Dhammakathi)  and  had  Buddhaghosa 
been  already  celebrated  he  would  hardly  have  omitted  him. 


He  composed  a  great  corpus  of  exegetical  literature  which 
has  been  preserved,  but,  since  much  of  it  is  still  unedited,  the 
precise  extent  of  his  labours  is  uncertain.  There  is  however  little 
doubt  of  the  authenticity  of  his  commentaries  on  the  four  great 
Nikayas,  on  the  Abhidhamma  and  on  the  Vinaya  (called 
Samanta-pasadika)  and  in  them1  he  refers  to  the  Visuddhi- 
magga  as  his  own  work.  He  says  expressly  that  his  explanations 
are  founded  on  Sinhalese  materials,  which  he  frequently  cites 
as  the  opinion  of  the  ancients  (porana).  By  this  word  he  prob 
ably  means  traditions  recorded  in  Sinhalese  and  attributed  to 
Mahinda,  but  it  is  in  any  case  clear  that  the  works  which  he 
consulted  were  considered  old  in  the  fifth  century  A.D.  Some 
of  their  names  are  preserved  in  the  Samanta-pasadika  where 
he  mentions  the  great  commentary  (Maha-Atthakatha),  the 
Raft  commentary  (Paccari,  so  called  because  written  on  a  raft), 
the  Kurundi  commentary  composed  at  Kurunda-Velu  and 
others2.  All  this  literature  has  disappeared  and  we  can  only 
judge  of  it  by  Buddhaghosa's  reproduction  which  is  probably 
not  a  translation  but  a  selection  and  rearrangement.  Indeed 
his  occasional  direct  quotations  from  the  ancients  or  from  an 
Atthakatha  imply  that  the  rest  of  the  work  is  merely  based  on 
the  Sinhalese  commentaries. 

Buddhaghosa  was  not  an  independent  thinker  but  he  makes 
amends  for  his  want  of  originality  not  only  by  his  industry  and 
learning  but  by  his  power  of  grasping  and  expounding  the 
whole  of  an  intricate  subject.  His  Visuddhi-magga  has  not  yet 
been  edited  in  Europe,  but  the  extracts  and  copious  analysis3 
which  have  been  published  indicate  that  it  is  a  comprehensive 
restatement  of  Buddhist  doctrine  made  with  as  free  a  hand  as 
orthodoxy  permitted.  The  Mahavamsa  observes  that  the 
Theras  held  his  works  in  the  same  estimation  as  the  Pitakas. 
They  are  in  no  way  coloured  by  the  Mahayanist  tenets  which 
were  already  prevalent  in  India,  but  state  in  its  severest  form 
the  Hinayanist  creed,  of  which  he  is  the  most  authoritative 
exponent.  The  Visuddhi-magga  is  divided  into  three  parts 
treating  of  conduct  (silam),  meditation  (samadhi)  and  knowledge 

1  In  the  Corns,  on  the  Digha  and  Dhammasangani. 

3  See  Rhys  Davids  and  Carpenter's  introduction  to  Sumangalavi,  i.  p.  x. 

1  In  the  Journal  of  Pali  Text  Soc.  1891,  pp.  76-164.  Since  the  above  was  written 
the  first  volume  of  the  text  of  the  Visuddhi  magga,  edited  by  Mrs  Rhys  Davids, 
has  been  published  by  the  Pali  Text  Society,  1920. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  31 

(paiina),  the  first  being  the  necessary  substratum  for  the 
religious  life  of  which  the  others  are  the  two  principal  branches. 
But  though  he  intersperses  his  exposition  with  miraculous  stories 
and  treats  exhaustively  of  superhuman  powers,  no  trace  of  the 
worship  of  Mahay anist  Bodhisattvas  is  found  in  his  works  and, 
as  for  literature,  he  himself  is  the  chief  authority  for  the  genu 
ineness  and  completeness  of  the  Pali  Canon  as  we  know  it. 

When  we  find  it  said  that  his  works  were  esteemed  as  highly 
as  the  Pitakas,  or  that  the  documents  which  he  translated  into 
Pali  were  the  words  of  the  Buddha1,  the  suspicion  naturally 
arises  that  the  Pali  Canon  may  be  in  part  his  composition  and 
it  may  be  well  to  review  briefly  its  history  in  Ceylon.  Our 
knowledge  appears  to  be  derived  entirely  from  the  traditions 
of  the  Mahavihara  which  represent  Mahindq,  as  teaching  the 
text  of  the  Pitakas  orally,  accompanied  by  a  commentary.  If 
we  admit  the  general  truth  of  the  narrative  concerning  Ma- 
hinda's  mission,  there  is  nothing  improbable  in  these  state 
ments,  for  it  would  be  natural  that  an  Indian  teacher  should 
know  by  heart  his  sacred  texts  and  the  commentaries  on  them. 
We  cannot  of  course  assume  that  the  Pitakas  of  Mahinda  were 
the  Pali  Canon  as  we  know  it,  but  the  inscriptions  of  Asoka 
refer  to  passages  which  can  be  found  in  that  canon  and  therefore 
parts  of  it  at  any  rate  must  have  been  accepted  as  scripture  in 
the  third  century  B.C.  But  it  is  probable  that  considerable 
variation  was  permitted  in  the  text,  although  the  sense  and  a 
certain  terminology  were  carefully  guarded.  It  was  not  till 
the  reign  of  Vattagamani,  probably  about  20  B.C.,  that  the  canon 
was  committed  to  writing  and  the  Parivara,  composed  in 
Ceylon2,  was  included  in  it. 

In  the  reign  of  Buddhadasa3  a  learned  monk  named  Maha- 
dhammakathi  is  said  to  have  translated  the  Suttas  into  Sinhalese, 
which  at  this  time  was  esteemed  the  proper  language  for  letters 
and  theology,  but  in  the  next  century  a  contrary  tendency, 
probably  initiated  by  Buddhaghosa,  becomes  apparent  and  Sin 
halese  works  are  rewritten  in  Pali4.  But  nothing  indicates  that 

1  Bhagavato  Sasanam.   See  Buddhaghosuppatti,  cap.  I. 

2  It  appears  to  be  unknown  to  the  Chinese  Tripitaka.  For  some  further  remarks 
on  the  Sinhalese  Canon  see  Book  in.  chap.  xin.  §  3. 

3  That  is  according  to  Geiger  386-416  A.D.    Perhaps  he  was  the  Ta-mo-kiu-ti 
mentioned  by  Fa-Hsien. 

4  The  tendency  seems  odd  but  it  can  be  paralleled  in  India  where  it  is  not 
uncommon  to  rewrite  vernacular  works  in  Sanskrit.   See  Grierson,  J.R.A.S.  1913, 


any  part  of  what  we  call  the  Pali  Canon  underwent  this  process. 
Buddhaghosa  distinguishes  clearly  between  text  and  comment, 
between  Pali  and  Sinhalese  documents.  He  has  a  coherent 
history  of  the  text,  beginning  with  the  Council  of  Rajagaha; 
he  discusses  various  readings,  he  explains  difficult  words.  He 
treated  the  ancient  commentaries  with  freedom,  but  there  is  no 
reason  to  think  that  he  allowed  himself  any  discretion  or  right 
of  selection  in  dealing  with  the  sacred  texts  accepted  by  the 
Mahavihara,  though  it  might  be  prudent  to  await  the  publica 
tion  of  his  commentaries  on  all  the  Nikayas  before  asserting 
this  unreservedly. 

To  sum  up,  the  available  evidence  points  to  the  conclusion 
that  in  the  time  of  Asoka  texts  and  commentaries  preserved 
orally  were  brought  to  Ceylon.  The  former,  though  in  a  some 
what  fluid  condition,  were  sufficiently  sacred  to  be  kept  un 
changed  in  the  original  Indian  language,  the  latter  were  trans 
lated  into  the  kindred  but  still  distinct  vernacular  of  the  island. 
In  the  next  century  and  a  half  some  additions  to  the  Pali  texts 
were  made  and  about  20  B.C.  the  Mahavihara,  which  proved  as 
superior  to  the  other  communities  in  vitality  as  it  was  in 
antiquity,  caused  written  copies  to  be  made  of  what  it  considered 
as  the  canon,  including  some  recent  works.  There  is  no  evidence 
that  Buddhaghosa  or  anyone  else  enlarged  or  curtailed  the 
canon,  but  the  curious  tradition  that  he  collected  and  burned 
all  the  books  written  by  Mahinda  in  Sinhalese1  may  allude  to 
the  existence  of  other  works  which  he  (presumably  in  agreement 
with  the  Mahavihara)  considered  spurious. 

Soon  after  the  departure  of  Buddhaghosa  Dhatusena  came 
to  the  throne  and  "held  like  Dhammasoka  a  convocation  about 
the  three  Pitakas2."  This  implies  that  there  was  still  some 
doubt  as  to  what  was  scripture  and  that  the  canon  of  the 
Mahavihara  was  not  universally  accepted.  The  Vetulyas,  of 

p.  133.  Even  in  England  in  the  seventeenth  century  Bacon  seems  to  have  been 
doubtful  of  the  immortality  of  his  works  in  English  and  prepared  a  Latin  translation 
of  his  Essays. 

1  It  is  reported  with  some  emphasis  as  the  tradition  of  the  Ancients  in  Buddha - 
ghosuppatti,  cap.  vn.    If  the  works  were  merely  those  which  Buddhaghosa  himself 
had  translated  the  procedure  seems  somewhat  drastic. 

2  Mahav.  xxxin.    Dhammasokova  so  kasi  Pitakattaye  Sarigahan.    Dhatusena 
reigned  from  459-477  according  to  the  common  chronology  or  509-527  according 
to  Geiger. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  33 

whom  we  heard  in  the  third  century  A.D.,  reappear  in  the 
seventh  when  they  are  said  to  have  been  supported  by  a  pro 
vincial  governor  but  not  by  the  king  Aggabodhi1  and  still 
more  explicitly  in  the  reign  of  Parakrama  Bahu  (c.  1160).  He 
endeavoured  to  reconcile  to  the  Mahavihara  "the  Abhayagiri 
brethren  who  separated  themselves  from  the  time  of  king 
Vattagamani  Abhaya  and  the  Jetavana  brethren  that  had 
parted  since  the  days  of  Mahasena  and  taught  the  Vetulla 
Pitaka  and  other  writings  as  the  words  of  Buddha,  which  indeed 
were  not  the  words  of  Buddha2."  So  it  appears  that  another 
recension  of  the  canon  was  in  existence  for  many  centuries. 

Dhatusena,  though  depicted  in  the  Mahavamsa  as  a  most 
orthodox  monarch,  embellished  the  Abhayagiri  monastery  and 
was  addicted  to  sumptuous  ceremonies  in  honour  of  images  and 
relics.  Thus  he  made  an  image  of  Mahinda,  dedicated  a  shrine 
and  statue  to  Metteyya  and  ornamented  the  effigies  of  Buddha 
with  the  royal  jewels.  In  an  image  chamber  (apparently  at  the 
Abhayagiri)  he  set  up  figures  of  Bodhisattvas3,  by  which  we 
should  perhaps  understand  the  previous  births  of  Gotama.  He 
was  killed  by  his  son  and  Sinhalese  history  degenerated  into  a 
complicated  story  of  crime  and  discord,  in  which  the  weaker 
faction  generally  sought  the  aid  of  the  Tamils.  These  latter 
became  more  and  more  powerful  and  with  their  advance  Bud 
dhism  tended  to  give  place  to  Hinduism.  In  the  eighth  century 
the  court  removed  from  Anuradhapura  to  Pollannaruwa,  in 
order  to  escape  from  the  pressure  of  the  Tamils,  but  the  picture 
of  anarchy  and  decadence  grows  more  and  more  gloomy  until 
the  accession  of  Vijaya  Bahu  in  1071  who  succeeded  in  making 
himself  king  of  all  Ceylon.  Though  he  recovered  Anuradhapura 
it  was  not  made  the  royal  residence  either  by  himself  or  by  his 
greater  successor,  Parakrama  Bahu4.  This  monarch,  the  most 
eminent  in  the  long  list  of  Ceylon's  sovereigns,  after  he  had 
consolidated  his  power,  devoted  himself,  in  the  words  of  Tennent, 
"to  the  two  grand  objects  of  royal  solicitude,  religion  and 
agriculture."  He  was  lavish  in  building  monasteries,  temples 
and  libraries,  but  not  less  generous  in  constructing  or  repairing 

1  Mahav.  XLII.  35  ff. 

2  Mahav.  LXXVHI.  21-23. 

8  Mahav.    xxxvm.     Akasi    patimagehe    bahumangalacetiye    boddhisatte    ca 
tathasun.   Cf.  Fa-Hsien,  chap.  xxvm.  ad  fin. 
4  Or  Parakkama  Bahu.   Probably  1153-1186. 


tanks  and  works  of  irrigation.  In  the  reign  of  Vijaya  Bahu 
hardly  any  duly  ordained  monks  were  to  be  found1,  the  succes 
sion  having  been  interrupted,  and  the  deficiency  was  supplied 
by  bringing  qualified  Theras  from  Burma.  But  by  the  time  of 
Parakrama  Bahu  the  old  quarrels  of  the  monasteries  revived, 
and,  as  he  was  anxious  to  secure  unity,  he  summoned  a  synod 
at  Anuradhapura.  It  appears  to  have  attained  its  object  by 
recognizing  the  Mahavihara  as  the  standard  of  orthodoxy  and 
dealing  summarily  with  dissentients2.  The  secular  side  of  mon 
astic  life  also  received  liberal  attention.  Lands,  revenues  and 
guest-houses  were  provided  for  the  monasteries  as  well  as 
hospitals.  As  in  Burma  and  Siam  Brahmans  were  respected  and 
the  king  erected  a  building  for  their  use  in  the  capital.  Like 
Asoka,  he  forbade  the  killing  of  animals. 

But  the  glory  of  Parakrama  Bahu  stands  up  in  the  later 
history  of  Ceylon  like  an  isolated  peak  and  thirty  years  after 
his  death  the  country  had  fallen  almost  to  its  previous  low  level 
of  prosperity.  The  Tamils  again  occupied  many  districts  and  were 
never  entirely  dislodged  as  long  as  the  Sinhalese  kingdom 
lasted.  Buddhism  tended  to  decline  but  was  always  the  religion 
of  the  national  party  and  was  honoured  with  as  much  magnifi 
cence  as  their  means  allowed.  Parakrama  Bahu  II  (c.  1240), 
who  recovered  the  sacred  tooth  from  the  Tamils,  is  said  to  have 
celebrated  splendid  festivals  and  to  have  imported  learned 
monks  from  the  country  of  the  Colas3.  Towards  the  end  of  the 
fifteenth  century  the  inscriptions  of  Kalyani  indicate  that  Sin 
halese  religion  enjoyed  a  great  reputation  in  Burma4. 

A  further  change  adverse  to  Buddhism  was  occasioned  by 
the  arrival  of  the  Portuguese  in  1505.  A  long  and  horrible 
struggle  ensued  between  them  and  the  various  kings  among 
whom  the  distracted  island  was  divided  until  at  the  end  of  the 
sixteenth  century  only  Kandy  remained  independent,  the  whole 
coast  being  in  the  hands  of  the  Portuguese.  The  singular  bar 
barities  which  they  perpetrated  throughout  this  struggle  are 
vouched  for  by  their  own  historians5,  but  it  does  not  appear 

Mahavamsa  LX.  4-7. 
Mahavamsa  LXXVIII.  21-27. 

Mahav.  LXXXIV.   If  this  means  the  region  of  Madras,  the  obvious  question  is 
what  learned  Buddhist  can  there  have  been  there  at  this  period. 
J.  Ant.  1893,  pp.  40,  41. 
I  take  this  statement  from  Tennent  who  gives  references. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  35 

that  the  Sinhalese  degraded  themselves  by  similar  atrocities. 
Since  the  Portuguese  wished  to  propagate  Roman  Catholicism 
as  well  as  to  extend  their  political  rule  and  used  for  this  purpose 
(according  to  the  Mahavamsa)  the  persuasions  of  gold  as  well  aa 
the  terrors  of  torture,  it  is  not  surprising  if  many  Sinhalese  pro 
fessed  allegiance  to  Christianity,  but  when  in  1597  the  greater 
part  of  Ceylon  formally  accepted  Portuguese  sovereignty,  the 
chiefs  insisted  that  they  should  be  allowed  to  retain  their  own 
religion  and  customs. 

The  Dutch  first  appeared  in  1602  and  were  welcomed  by  the 
Court  of  Kandy  as  allies  capable  of  expelh'ng  the  Portuguese. 
This  they  succeeded  in  doing  by  a  series  of  victories  between 
1638  and  1658,  and  remained  masters  of  a  great  part  of  the  island 
until  their  possessions  were  taken  by  the  British  in  1795. 
Kandy  however  continued  independent  until  1815.  At  first  the 
Dutch  tried  to  enforce  Christianity  and  to  prohibit  Buddhism 
within  their  territory1  but  ultimately  hatred  of  the  Roman 
Catholic  church  made  them  favourable  to  Buddhism  and  they 
were  ready  to  assist  those  kings  who  desired  to  restore  the 
national  religion  to  its  former  splendour. 

In  spite  of  this  assistance  the  centuries  when  the  Sinhalese 
were  contending  with  Europeans  were  not  a  prosperous  time 
for  Buddhism.  Hinduism  spread  in  the  north2,  Christianity  in 
the  coast  belt,  but  still  it  was  a  point  of  honour  with  most 
native  sovereigns  to  protect  the  national  religion  so  far  as  their 
distressed  condition  allowed.  For  the  seventeenth  century  we 
have  an  interesting  account  of  the  state  of  the  country  called 
An  Historical  Relation  of  the  Island  of  Ceylon  by  an  Englishman, 
Robert  Knox,  who  was  detained  by  the  king  of  Kandy  from 
1660  to  1680.  He  does  not  seem  to  have  been  aware  that  there 
was  any  distinction  between  Buddhism  and  Hinduism.  Though 
he  describes  the  Sinhalese  as  idolaters,  he  also  emphasizes  the 
fact  that  Buddou  (as  he  writes  the  name)  is  the  God  "unto 
whom  the  salvation  of  souls  belongs,"  and  for  whom  "above  all 
others  they  have  a  high  respect  and  devotion."  He  also  describes 

1  See  Ceylon  Antiquary,  i.  3,  pp.  148,  197. 

2  Rajasinha  I  (1581)  is  said  to  have  made  Sivaism  the  Court  religion. 


the  ceremonies  of  pirit  and  bana,  the  perahera  procession,  and 
two  classes  of  Buddhist  monks,  the  elders  and  the  ordinary 
members  of  the  Sangha.  His  narrative  indicates  that  Buddhism 
was  accepted  as  the  higher  religion,  though  men  were  prone  to 
pray  to  deities  who  would  save  from  temporal  danger. 

About  this  time  Vimala  Dharma  II1  made  great  efforts  to 
improve  the  religious  condition  of  the  island  and  finding  that 
the  true  succession  had  again  failed,  arranged  with  the  Dutch 
to  send  an  embassy  to  Arakan  and  bring  back  qualified  Theras. 
But  apparently  the  steps  taken  were  not  sufficient,  for  when 
king  Kittisiri  Rajasiha  (1747-81),  whose  piety  forms  the  theme 
of  the  last  two  chapters  of  the  Mahavamsa,  set  about  reforming 
the  Sangha,  he  found  that  duly  ordained  monks  were  extinct 
and  that  many  so-called  monks  had  families.  He  therefore 
decided  to  apply  to  Dhammika,  king  of  Ayuthia  in  Siam,  and 
like  his  predecessor  despatched  an  embassy  on  a  Dutch  ship. 
Dhammika  sent  back  a  company  of  "more  than  ten  monks" 
(that  is  more  than  sufficient  for  the  performance  of  all  ecclesi 
astical  acts)  under  the  Abbot  Upali  in  1752  and  another  to 
relieve  it  in  17552.  They  were  received  by  the  king  of  Ceylon  with 
great  honour  and  subsequently  by  the  ordination  which  they 
conferred  placed  the  succession  beyond  dispute.  But  the  order 
thus  reconstituted  was  aristocratic  and  exclusive :  only  members 
of  the  highest  caste  were  admitted  to  it  and  the  wealthy  middle 
classes  found  themselves  excluded  from  a  community  which 
they  were  expected  to  honour  and  maintain.  This  led  to  the 
despatch  of  an  embassy  to  Burma  in  1802  and  to  the  foundation 
of  another  branch  of  the  Sangha,  known  as  the  Amarapura 
school,  distinct  in  so  far  as  its  validity  depended  on  Burmese 
not  Siamese  ordination. 

Since  ordination  is  for  Buddhists  merely  self -dedication  to  a 
higher  life  and  does  not  confer  any  sacramental  or  sacerdotal 

1  His  reign  is  dated  as  1679-1701,  also  as  1687-1706.   It  is  remarkable  that  the 
Mahavamsa  makes  both  the  kings  called  Vimala  Dharma  send  religious  embassies 
to  Arakan.   See  xciv.  15,  16  and  xcvn.  10,  11. 

2  See  for  some  details  Lorgeou:  Notice  sur  un  Manuscrit  Siamois  contenant  la 
relation  de  deux  missions  religieuses  envoyees  de  Siam  a  Ceylon  au  milieu  du  xviii 
Siecle.   Jour.  AsiaL  1906,  pp.  533  ff.  The  king  called  Dhammika  by  the  Mahavamsa 
appears  to  have  been  known  as  Phra  Song  Tham  in  Siam.  The  interest  felt  by  the 
Siamese  in  Ceylon  at  this  period  is  shown  by  the  Siamese  translation  of  the  Maha 
vamsa  made  in  1796. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  37 

powers,  the  importance  assigned  to  it  may  seem  strange.  But 
the  idea  goes  back  to  the  oldest  records  in  the  Vinaya  and  has 
its  root  in  the  privileges  accorded  to  the  order.  A  Bhikkhu  had 
a  right  to  expect  much  from  the  laity,  but  he  also  had  to  prove 
his  worth  and  Gotama's  early  legislation  was  largely  concerned 
with  excluding  unsuitable  candidates.  The  solicitude  for  valid 
ordination  was  only  the  ecclesiastical  form  of  the  popular  feeling 
that  the  honours  and  immunities  of  the  order  were  conditional 
on  its  maintaining  a  certain  standard  of  conduct.  Other 
methods  of  reform  might  have  been  devised,  but  the  old  injunc 
tion  that  a  monk  could  be  admitted  only  by  other  duly  ordained 
monks  was  fairly  efficacious  and  could  not  be  disputed.  But 
the  curious  result  is  that  though  Ceylon  was  in  early  times  the 
second  home  of  Buddhism,  almost  all  (if  indeed  not  all)  the 
monks  found  there  now  derive  their  right  to  the  title  of  Bhikkhu 
from  foreign  countries. 

The  Sinhalese  Sangha  is  generally  described  as  divided  into 
four  schools,  those  of  Siam,  Kelani,  Amarapura  and  Ramanya, 
of  which  the  first  two  are  practically  identical,  Kelani  being 
simply  a  separate  province  of  the  Siamese  school,  which  other 
wise  has  its  headquarters  in  the  inland  districts.  This  school, 
founded  as  mentioned  above  by  priests  who  arrived  in  1750, 
comprises  about  half  of  the  whole  Sangha  and  has  some  pre 
tensions  to  represent  the  hierarchy  of  Ceylon,  since  the  last 
kings  of  Kandy  gave  to  the  heads  of  the  two  great  monasteries 
in  the  capital,  Asgiri  and  Mai  watte,  jurisdiction  over  the  north 
and  south  of  the  island  respectively.  It  differs  in  some  particu 
lars  from  the  Amarapura  school.  It  only  admits  members  of 
the  highest  caste  and  prescribes  that  monks  are  to  wear  the 
upper  robe  over  one  shoulder  only,  whereas  the  Amarapurans 
admit  members  of  the  first  three  castes  (but  not  those  lower  in 
the  social  scale)  and  require  both  shoulders  to  be  covered. 
There  are  other  minor  differences  among  which  it  is  interesting 
to  note  that  the  Siamese  school  object  to  the  use  of  the  formula 
"I  dedicate  this  gift  to  the  Buddha"  which  is  used  in  the  other 
schools  when  anything  is  presented  to  the  order  for  the  use  of 
the  monks.  It  is  held  that  this  expression  was  correct  in  the  life 
time  of  the  Buddha  but  not  after  his  death.  The  two  schools 
are  not  mutually  hostile,  and  members  of  each  find  a  hospitable 
reception  in  the  monasteries  of  the  other.  The  laity  patronize 


both  indifferently  and  both  frequent  the  same  places  of  pilgrim 
age,  though  all  of  these  and  the  majority  of  the  temple  lands 
belong  to  the  sect  of  Siam.  It  is  wealthy,  aristocratic  and  has 
inherited  the  ancient  traditions  of  Ceylon,  whereas  the  Amara- 
purans  are  more  active  and  inclined  to  propaganda.  It  is  said 
they  are  the  chief  allies  of  the  Theosophists  and  European 
Buddhists.  The  Ramanya1  school  is  more  recent  and  distinct 
than  the  others,  being  in  some  ways  a  reformed  community. 
It  aims  at  greater  strictness  of  life,  forbidding  monasteries  to 
hold  property  and  insisting  on  genuine  poverty.  It  also  totally 
rejects  the  worship  of  Hindu  deities  and  its  lay  members  do  not 
recognize  the  monks  of  other  schools.  It  is  not  large  but  its 
influence  is  considerable. 

It  has  been  said  that  Buddhism  flourished  in  Ceylon  only 
when  it  was  able  to  secure  the  royal  favour.  There  is  some  truth 
in  this,  for  the  Sangha  does  not  struggle  on  its  own  behalf  but 
expects  the  laity  to  provide  for  its  material  needs,  making  a 
return  in  educational  and  religious  services.  Such  a  body  if  not 
absolutely  dependent  on  royal  patronage  has  at  least  much  to 
gain  from  it.  Yet  this  admission  must  not  blind  us  to  the  fact 
that  during  its  long  and  often  distinguished  history  Sinhalese 
Buddhism  has  been  truly  the  national  faith,  as  opposed  to  the 
beliefs  of  various  invaders,  and  has  also  ministered  to  the 
spiritual  aspirations  of  the  nation.  As  Knox  said  in  a  period 
when  it  was  not  particularly  flourishing,  the  Hindu  gods  look 
after  worldly  affairs  but  Buddha  after  the  soul.  When  the 
island  passed  under  British  rule  and  all  religions  received  im 
partial  recognition,  the  result  was  not  disastrous  to  Buddhism : 
the  number  of  Bhikkhus  greatly  increased,  especially  in  the  latter 
half  of  the  nineteenth  century.  And  if  in  earlier  periods  there 
was  an  interval  in  which  technically  speaking  the  Sangha  did 
not  exist,  this  did  not  mean  that  interest  in  it  ceased,  for  as 
soon  as  the  kingdom  became  prosperous  the  first  care  of  the 
kings  was  to  set  the  Church  in  order.  This  zeal  can  be  attributed 
to  nothing  but  conviction  and  affection,  for  Buddhism  is  not  a 
faith  politically  useful  to  an  energetic  and  warlike  prince. 

1  Ramanna  is  the  part  of  Burma  between  Arakan  and  Siam. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  39 

Sinhalese  Buddhism  is  often  styled  primitive  or  original  and 
it  may  fairly  be  said  to  preserve  in  substance  both  the  doctrine 
and  practice  inculcated  in  the  earliest  Pali  literature.  In  calling 
this  primitive  we  must  remember  the  possibility  that  some  of 
this  literature  was  elaborated  in  Ceylon  itself.  But,  putting  the 
text  of  the  Pitakas  aside,  it  would  seem  that  the  early  Sinhalese 
Buddhism  was  the  same  as  that  of  Asoka,  and  that  it  never 
underwent  any  important  change.  It  is  true  that  mediaeval 
Sinhalese  literature  is  full  of  supernatural  legends  respecting  the 
Buddha1,  but  still  he  does  not  become  a  god  (for  he  has  attained 
Nirvana)  and  the  great  Bodhisattvas,  Avalokita  and  Manjusri, 
are  practically  unknown.  The  Abhidhammattha-sangaha2,  which 
is  still  the  text-book  most  in  use  among  the  Bhikkhus,  adheres 
rigidly  to  the  methods  of  the  Abhidhamma3.  It  contains 
neither  devotional  nor  magical  matter  but  prescribes  a  course 
of  austere  mental  training,  based  on  psychological  analysis  and 
culminating  in  the  rapture  of  meditation.  Such  studies  and 
exercises  are  beyond  the  capacity  of  the  majority,  but  no  other 
road  to  salvation  is  officially  sanctioned  for  the  Bhikkhu.  It  is 
admitted  that  there  are  no  Arhats  now — just  as  Christianity 
has  no  contemporary  saints — but  no  other  ideal,  such  as  the 
Boddhisattva  of  the  Mahay anists,  is  held  up  for  imitation. 

Mediaeval  images  of  Avalokita  and  of  goddesses  have  how 
ever  been  found  in  Ceylon4.  This  is  hardly  surprising  for  the 
island  was  on  the  main  road  to  China,  Java,  and  Camboja5  and 
Mahayanist  teachers  and  pilgrims  must  have  continually  passed 
through  it.  The  Chinese  biographies  of  that  eminent  tantrist, 
Amogha,  say  that  he  went  to  Ceylon  in  741  and  elaborated  his 
system  there  before  returning  to  China.  It  is  said  that  in  1408 
the  Chinese  being  angry  at  the  ill-treatment  of  envoys  whom 
they  had  sent  to  the  shrine  of  the  tooth,  conquered  Ceylon  and 

1  See  Spence  Hardy,  Manual  of  Buddhism,  chap.  vn. 

2  A  translation  by  S.  Z.  Aung  and  Mrs  Rhys  Davids  has  been  published  by  the 
Pali  Text  Society.  The  author  Anuruddha  appears  to  have  lived  between  the 
eighth  and  twelfth  centuries. 

3  The  Sinhalese  had  a  special  respect  for  the  Abhidhamma.   Kassapa  V  (c.  A.D. 
930)  caused  it  to  be  engraved  on  plates  of  gold.   Ep.  Zeyl.  I.  p.  52. 

4  See  Coomaraswamy  in  J.R.A.S.  1909,  pp.  283-297. 

6  For  intercourse  with  Camboja  see  Epigr.  Zeylanica,  n.  p.  74. 


made  it  pay  tribute  for  fifty  years.  By  conquest  no  doubt  is 
meant  merely  a  military  success  and  not  occupation,  but  the 
whole  story  implies  possibilities  of  acquaintance  with  Chinese 

It  is  clear  that,  though  the  Hinayanist  church  was  pre 
dominant  throughout  the  history  of  the  island,  there  were  up 
to  the  twelfth  century  heretical  sects  called  Vaitulya  or  Vetul- 
yaka  and  Vajira  which  though  hardly  rivals  of  orthodoxy  were 
a  thorn  in  its  side.  A  party  at  the  Abhayagiri  monastery  were 
favourably  disposed  to  the  Vaitulya  sect  which,  though  of  ten  sup 
pressed,  recovered  and  reappeared,  being  apparently  reinforced 
from  India.  This  need  not  mean  from  southern  India,  for  Ceylon 
had  regular  intercourse  with  the  north  and  per  haps  the  Vaitulyas 
were  Mahayanists  from  Bengal.  The  Nikaya-Sangrahawa  also 
mentions  that  in  the  ninth  century  there  was  a  sect  called 
Nilapatadarsana1,  who  wore  blue  robes  and  preached  indulgence 
in  wine  and  love.  They  were  possibly  Tantrists  from  the  north 
but  were  persecuted  in  southern  India  and  never  influential  in 

The  Mahavamsa  is  inclined  to  minimize  the  importance  of 
all  sects  compared  with  the  Mahavihara,  but  the  picture  given 
by  the  Nikaya-Sangrahawa  may  be  more  correct.  It  says  that 
the  Vaitulyas,  described  as  infidel  Brahmans  who  had  composed 
a  Pitaka  of  their  own,  made  four  attempts  to  obtain  a  footing 
at  the  Abhayagiri  monastery2.  In  the  ninth  century  it  repre 
sents  king  Matvalasen  as  having  to  fly  because  he  had  embraced 
the  false  doctrine  of  the  Vajiras.  These  are  mentioned  in  another 
passage  in  connection  with  the  Vaitulyas :  they  are  said  to  have 
composed  the  Gudha  Vinaya3  and  many  Tantras.  They  perhaps 
were  connected  with  the  Vajrayana,  a  phase  of  Tantric  Bud 
dhism.  But  a  few  years  later  king  Mungayinsen  set  the  church 
in  order.  He  recognized  the  three  orthodox  schools  or  nikayas 
called  Theriya,  Dhammaruci  and  Sagaliya  but  proscribed  the 
others  and  set  guards  on  the  coast  to  prevent  the  importation 
of  heresy.  Nevertheless  the  Vajiriya  and  Vaitulya  doctrines 

1  A  dubious  legend  relates  that  they  were  known  in  the  north  and  suppressed 
by  Harsha.  See  Ettinghausen,  Harsha  Vardhana,  1906,  p.  86.  Nil  Sadhana  appears 
to  be  a  name  for  tantric  practices.  See  Avalon,  Principles  of  Tantra,  preface,  p.  xix. 

2  In   the   reigns   of   Voharatissa,    Gothabhaya,    Mahasena   and   Ambaherana 
Salamevan.  The  kings  Matvalasen  and  Mungayinsen  are  also  known  as  Sena  I  and  II. 

3  Secret  Vinaya. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  41 

were  secretly  practised.  An  inscription  in  Sanskrit  found  at  the 
Jetavana  and  attributed  to  the  ninth  century1  records  the 
foundation  of  a  Vihara  for  a  hundred  resident  monks,  25  from 
each  of  the  four  nikayas,  which  it  appears  to  regard  as  equiva 
lent.  But  in  1165  the  great  Parakrama  Bahu  held  a  synod  to 
restore  unity  in  the  church.  As  a  result,  all  Nikayas  (even  the 
Dhammaruci)  which  did  not  conform  to  the  Mahavihara  were 
suppressed2  and  we  hear  no  more  of  the  Vaitulyas  and  Vajiriyas. 

Thus  there  was  once  a  Mahayanist  faction  in  Ceylon,  but  it 
was  recruited  from  abroad,  intermittent  in  activity  and  was 
finally  defeated,  whereas  the  Hinayanist  tradition  was  national 
and  continuous. 

Considering  the  long  lapse  of  time,  the  monastic  life  of  Ceylon 
has  not  deviated  much  in  practice  from  the  injunctions  of  the 
Vinaya.  Monasteries  like  those  of  Anuradhapura,  which  are 
said  to  have  contained  thousands  of  monks,  no  longer  exist. 
The  largest  now  to  be  found — those  at  Kandy — do  not  contain 
more  than  fifty  but  as  a  rule  a  pansala  (as  these  institutions  are 
now  called)  has  not  more  than  five  residents  and  more  often 
only  two  or  three.  Some  pansalas  have  villages  assigned  to 
them  and  some  let  their  lands  and  do  not  scruple  to  receive  the 
rent.  The  monks  still  follow  the  ancient  routine  of  making  a 
daily  round  with  the  begging  bowl,  but  the  food  thus  collected 
is  often  given  to  the  poor  or  even  to  animals  and  the  inmates 
of  the  pansala  eat  a  meal  which  has  been  cooked  there.  The 
Patimokkha  is  recited  (at  least  in  part)  twice  a  month  and 
ordinations  are  held  annually3. 

The  duties  of  the  Bhikkhus  are  partly  educational,  partly 
clerical.  In  most  villages  the  children  receive  elementary  edu 
cation  gratis  in  the  pansala,  and  the  preservation  of  the  ancient 
texts,  together  with  the  long  list  of  Pali  and  Sinhalese  works 
produced  until  recent  times  almost  exclusively  by  members  of 
the  Sangha4,  is  a  proof  that  it  has  not  neglected  literature.  The 

1  Epigraphia  Zeylan.  i.  p.  4. 

2  One  of  the  king's  inscriptions  says  that  he  reconciled  the  clergy  of  the  three 
Nikayas.   Ep.  Zeyl.  i.  p.  134. 

3  See  Bowden  in  J.R.A.S.  1893,  pp.  159  ff.  The  account  refers  to  the  Mai  watte 
Monastery.   But  it  would  appear  that  the  Patimokkha  is  recited  in  country  places 
when  a  sufficient  number  of  monks  meet  on  Uposatha  days. 

4  Even  the  poets  were  mostly  Bhikkhus.  Sinhalese  literature  contains  a  fair 
number  of  historical  and  philosophical  works  but  curiously  little  about  law.  See 
Jolly,  Recht  und  Sitte,  p.  44. 


chief  public  religious  observances  are  preaching  and  reading  the 
scriptures.  This  latter,  known  as  Bana,  is  usually  accompanied 
by  a  word  for  word  translation  made  by  the  reciter  or  an 
assistant.  Such  recitations  may  form  part  of  the  ordinary 
ceremonial  of  Uposatha  days  and  most  religious  establishments 
have  a  room  where  they  can  be  held,  but  often  monks  are 
invited  to  reside  in  a  village  during  Was  (July  to  October)  and 
read  Bana,  and  often  a  layman  performs  a  pinkama  or  act  of 
merit  by  entertaining  monks  for  several  days  and  inviting  his 
neighbours  to  hear  them  recite.  The  recitation  of  the  Jatakas 
is  particularly  popular  but  the  suttas  of  the  Digha  Nikaya  are 
also  often  read.  On  special  occasions  such  as  entry  into  a  new 
house,  an  eclipse  or  any  incident  which  suggests  that  it  might 
be  well  to  ward  off  the  enmity  of  supernatural  powers,  it  is 
usual  to  recite  a  collection  of  texts  taken  largely  from  the 
Suttanipata  and  called  Pint.  The  word  appears  to  be  derived 
from  the  Pali  paritta,  a  defence,  and  though  the  Pali  scriptures 
do  not  sanction  this  use  of  the  Buddha's  discourses  they  coun 
tenance  the  idea  that  evil  may  be  averted  by  the  use  of 

Although  Sinhalese  Buddhism  has  not  diverged  much  from 
the  Pali  scriptures  in  its  main  doctrines  and  discipline,  yet  it 
tolerates  a  superstructure  of  Indian  beliefs  and  ceremonies 
which  forbid  us  to  call  it  pure  except  in  a  restricted  sense.  At 
present  there  may  be  said  to  be  three  religions  in  Ceylon;  local 
animism,  Hinduism  and  Buddhism  are  all  inextricably  mixed 
together.  By  local  animism  I  mean  the  worship  of  native 
spirits  who  do  not  belong  to  the  ordinary  Hindu  pantheon 
though  they  may  be  identified  with  its  members.  The  priests  of 
this  worship  are  called  Kapuralas  and  one  of  their  principal 
ceremonies  consists  in  dancing  until  they  are  supposed  to  be 
possessed  by  a  spirit — the  devil  dancing  of  Europeans.  Though 
this  religion  is  distinct  from  ordinary  Hinduism,  its  deities  and 
ceremonies  find  parallels  in  the  southern  Tamil  country.  In 
Ceylon  it  is  not  merely  a  village  superstition  but  possesses 

1  E.g.  in  the  Atanatiya  sutta  (Dig.  Nik.  xxxn.)  friendly  spirits  teach  a  spell  by 
which  members  of  the  order  may  protect  themselves  against  evil  ones  and  in 
Jataka  159  the  Peacock  escapes  danger  by  reciting  every  day  a  hymn  to  the  sun 
and  the  praises  of  past  Buddhas.  See  also  Bunyiu,  Nanjios  Catalogue,  Nos.  487  and 

xxxv]  CEYLON  43 

temples  of  considerable  size1,  for  instance  at  Badulla  and  near 
Ratnapura.  In  the  latter  there  is  a  Buddhist  shrine  in  the 
court  yard,  so  that  the  Blessed  One  may  countenance  the 
worship,  much  as  the  Pitakas  represent  him  as  patronizing  and 
instructing  the  deities  of  ancient  Magadha,  but  the  structure 
and  observances  of  the  temple  itself  are  not  Buddhist.  The  chief 
spirit  worshipped  at  Ratnapura  and  in  most  of  these  temples  is 
Maha  Saman,  the  god  of  Adam's  Peak.  He  is  sometimes  identi 
fied  with  Lakshmana,  the  brother  of  Rama,  and  sometimes  with 

About  a  quarter  of  the  population  are  Tamils  professing 
Hinduism.  Hindu  temples  of  the  ordinary  Dravidian  type  are 
especially  frequent  in  the  northern  districts,  but  they  are  found 
in  most  parts  and  at  Kandy  two  may  be  seen  close  to  the  shrine 
of  the  Tooth2.  Buddhists  feel  no  scruple  in  frequenting  them 
and  the  images  of  Hindu  deities  are  habitually  introduced  into 
Buddhist  temples.  These  often  contain  a  hall,  at  the  end  of 
which  are  one  or  more  sitting  figures  of  the  Buddha,  on  the 
right  hand  side  a  recumbent  figure  of  him,  but  on  the  left  a 
row  of  four  statues  representing  Mahabrahma,  Vishnu,  Kartti- 
keya  and  Mahasaman.  Of  these  Vishnu  generally  receives 
marked  attention,  shown  by  the  number  of  prayers  written  on 
slips  of  paper  which  are  attached  to  his  hand.  Nor  is  this 
worship  found  merely  as  a  survival  in  the  older  temples.  The  four 
figures  appear  in  the  newest  edifices  and  the  image  of  Vishnu 
never  fails  to  attract  votaries.  Yet  though  a  rigid  Buddhist 
may  regard  such  devotion  as  dangerous,  it  is  not  treasonable,  for 
Vishnu  is  regarded  not  as  a  competitor  but  as  a  very  reverent 
admirer  of  the  Buddha  and  anxious  to  befriend  good  Buddhists. 

Even  more  insidious  is  the  pageantry  which  since  the  days 
of  King  Tissa  has  been  the  outward  sign  of  religion.  It  may  be 
justified  as  being  merely  an  edifying  method  of  venerating  the 
memory  of  a  great  man  but  when  images  and  relics  are  treated 
with  profound  reverence  or  carried  in  solemn  procession  it  is 
hard  for  the  ignorant,  especially  if  they  are  accustomed  to  the 
ceremonial  of  Hindu  temples,  not  to  think  that  these  symbols 
are  divine.  This  ornate  ritualism  is  not  authorized  in  any 

1  See  for  an  account  of  the  Maha  Saman  Devale,  Ceylon  Ant.  July,  1916. 

2  So  a  mediaeval  inscription  at  Mahintale  of  Mahinda  IV  records  the  foundation 
of  Buddhist  edifices  and  a  temple  to  a  goddess.   Ep.  Zeyl  i.  p.  103. 

E.  m.  4 


known  canonical  text,  but  it  is  thoroughly  Indian.  Asoka 
records  in  his  inscriptions  the  institution  of  religious  processions 
and  Hsiian  Chuang  relates  how  King  Harsha  organized  a 
festival  during  which  an  image  of  the  Buddha  was  carried  on  an 
elephant  while  the  monarch  and  his  ally  the  king  of  Assam, 
dressed  as  Indra  and  Brahma  respectively,  waited  on  it  like 
servants1.  Such  festivities  were  congenial  to  the  Sinhalese,  as 
is  attested  by  the  long  series  of  descriptions  which  fill  the 
Mahavamsa  down  to  the  very  last  book,  by  what  Fa-Hsien  saw 
about  412  and  by  the  Perahera  festival  celebrated  to-day. 


The  Buddhism  of  southern  India  resembled  that  of  Ceylon 
in  character  though  not  in  history.  It  was  introduced  under 
the  auspices  of  Asoka,  who  mentions  in  his  inscriptions  the 
Colas,  Pandyas  and  Keralaputras2.  Hsiian  Chuang  says  that  in 
the  Malakuta  country,  somewhere  near  Madura  or  Tan j ore, 
there  was  a  stupa  erected  by  Asoka's  orders  and  also  a  monastery 
founded  by  Mahinda.  It  is  possible  that  this  apostle  and  others 
laboured  less  in  Ceylon  and  more  in  south  India  than  is  generally 
supposed.  The  pre-eminence  and  continuity  of  Sinhalese  Bud 
dhism  are  due  to  the  conservative  temper  of  the  natives  who 
were  relatively  little  moved  by  the  winds  of  religion  which 
blew  strong  on  the  mainland,  bearing  with  them  now  Jainism, 
now  the  worship  of  Vishnu  or  Siva. 

In  the  Tamil  country  Buddhism  of  an  Asokan  type  appears 
to  have  been  prevalent  about  the  time  of  our  era.  The  poem 
Manimegalei,  which  by  general  consent  was  composed  in  an 
early  century  A.D.,  is  Buddhist  but  shows  no  leanings  to 
Mahay anism.  It  speaks  of  Sivaism  and  many  other  systems3 
as  flourishing,  but  contains  no  hint  that  Buddhism  was  perse 
cuted.  But  persecution  or  at  least  very  unfavourable  conditions 
set  in.  Since  at  the  time  of  Hsiian  Chuang's  visit  Buddhism 

1  Similarly  in  a  religious  procession  described  in  the  Mahavamsa  (xcix.  52; 
about  1750  A.D.)  there  were  "men  in  the  dress  of  Brahmas." 

2  Rock  Edicts,  ii.  and  xm.  Three  inscriptions  of  Asoka  have  been  found  in 

3  The  Manimegalei  even  mentions  six  systems  of  philosophy  which  are  not  the 
ordinary  Dar£anas  but  Lokayatam,  Bauddham,  Saiikhyam,  Naiyayikam,  Vaiseshi- 
kam,  Mimamsakam. 

xxxv]  CEYLON  45 

was  in  an  advanced  stage  of  decadence,  it  seems  probable  that 
the  triumph  of  Sivaism  began  in  the  third  or  fourth  century 
and  that  Buddhism  offered  slight  resistance,  Jainism  being  the 
only  serious  competitor  for  the  first  place.  But  for  a  long  while, 
perhaps  even  until  the  sixteenth  century,  monasteries  were  kept 
up  in  special  centres,  and  one  of  these  is  of  peculiar  importance, 
namely  Kancipuram  or  Conjeveram1.  Hsiian  Chuang  found 
there  100  monasteries  with  more  than  10,000  brethren,  all 
Sthaviras,  and  mentions  that  it  was  the  birthplace  of  Dharma- 
pala2.  We  have  some  further  information  from  the  Talaing 
chronicles3  which  suggests  the  interesting  hypothesis  that  the 
Buddhism  of  Burma  was  introduced  or  refreshed  by  mission 
aries  from  southern  India.  They  give  a  list  of  teachers  who 
flourished  in  that  country,  including  Kaccayana  and  the  philoso 
pher  Anuruddha4.  Of  Dharmapala  they  say  that  he  lived  at 
the  monastery  of  Bhadratittha  near  Kancipura  and  wrote 
fourteen  commentaries  in  Pali5.  One  was  on  the  Visuddhi-magga 
of  Buddhaghosa  and  it  is  probable  that  he  lived  shortly  after 
that  great  writer  and  like  him  studied  in  Ceylon. 

I  shall  recur  to  this  question  of  south  Indian  Buddhism  in 
treating  of  Burma,  but  the  data  now  available  are  very  meagre. 

1  Kan-chih-pu-lo.    Waiters,   Juan  Chuang,  n.  226.  The  identification  is  not 
without  difficulties  and  it  has  been  suggested  that  the  town  is  really  Negapatam. 
The  Life  of  the  pilgrim  says  that  it  was  on  the  coast,  but  he  does  not  say  so  himself 
and  his  biographer  may  have  been  mistaken. 

2  See  art.  by  Rhys  Davids  in  E.R.E. 

3  See  Forchhammer,  Jar  dine  Prize  Essay,  1885,  pp.  24  ff. 

4  Author  of  the  Abhidhammattha-sangaha. 

6  Some  have  been  published  by  the  P.T.  Society. 


UNTIL  recent  times  Burma  remained  somewhat  isolated  and 
connected  with  foreign  countries  by  few  ties.  The  chronicles 
contain  a  record  of  long  and  generally  peaceful  intercourse  with 
Ceylon,  but  this  though  important  for  religion  and  literature 
had  little  political  effect.  The  Chinese  occasionally  invaded 
Upper  Burma  and  demanded  tribute  but  the  invasions  were 
brief  and  led  to  no  permanent  occupation.  On  the  west  Arakan 
was  worried  by  the  Viceroys  of  the  Mogul  Emperors  and  on  the 
east  the  Burmese  frequently  invaded  Siam.  But  otherwise 
from  the  beginning  of  authentic  history  until  the  British  annex 
ation  Burma  was  left  to  itself  and  had  not,  like  so  many  Asiatic 
states,  to  submit  to  foreign  conquest  and  the  imposition  of 
foreign  institutions.  Yet  let  it  not  be  supposed  that  its  annals 
are  peaceful  and  uneventful.  The  land  supplied  its  own  compli 
cations,  for  of  the  many  races  inhabiting  it,  three,  the  Burmese, 
Talaings  and  Shans,  had  rival  aspirations  and  founded  dyn 
asties.  Of  these  three  races,  the  Burmese  proper  appear  to  have 
come  from  the  north  west,  for  a  chain  of  tribes  speaking 
cognate  languages  is  said  to  extend  from  Burma  to  Nepal. 
The  Mons  or  Talaings  are  allied  linguistically  to  the  Khmer s  of 
Camboja.  Their  country  (sometimes  called  Ramannadesa)  was 
in  Lower  Burma  and  its  principal  cities  were  Pegu  and  Thaton. 
The  identity  of  the  name  Talaing  with  Telingana  or  Kalinga 
is  not  admitted  by  all  scholars,  but  native  tradition  con 
nects  the  foundation  of  the  kingdom  with  the  east  coast  of 
India  and  it  seems  certain  that  such  a  connection  existed  in 
historical  times  and  kept  alive  Hinayanist  Buddhism  which 
may  have  been  originally  introduced  by  this  route. 

The  Shan  States  lie  in  the  east  of  Burma  on  the  borders  of 
Yunnan  and  Laos.  Their  traditions  carry  their  foundation  back 
to  the  fourth  and  fifth  centuries  B.C.  There  is  no  confirmation 
of  this,  but  bodies  of  Shans,  a  race  allied  to  the  Siamese,  may 

OH.  xxxvi]  BURMA  47 

have  migrated  into  this  region  at  any  date,  perhaps  bringing 
Buddhism  with  them  or  receiving  it  direct  from  China.  Recent 
investigations  have  shown  that  there  was  also  a  fourth  race, 
designated  as  Pyus,  who  occupied  territory  between  the  Bur 
mese  and  Talaings  in  the  eleventh  century.  They  will  probably 
prove  of  considerable  importance  for  philology  and  early  history, 
perhaps  even  for  the  history  of  some  phases  of  Burmese  Bud 
dhism,  for  the  religious  terms  found  in  their  inscriptions  are 
Sanskrit  rather  than  Pali  and  this  suggests  direct  communica 
tion  with  India.  But  until  more  information  is  available  any 
discussion  of  this  interesting  but  mysterious  people  involves  so 
many  hypotheses  and  arguments  of  detail  that  it  is  impossible 
in  a  work  like  the  present.  Prome  was  one  of  their  principal 
cities,  their  name  reappears  in  P'iao,  the  old  Chinese  designation 
of  Burma,  and  perhaps  also  in  Pagan,  one  form  of  which  is 

Throughout  the  historical  period  the  pre-eminence  both  in 
individual  kings  and  dynastic  strength  rested  with  the  Burmese 
but  their  contests  with  the  Shans  and  Talaings  form  an  intricate 
story  which  can  be  related  here  only  in  outline.  Though  the 
three  races  are  distinct  and  still  preserve  their  languages,  yet 
they  conquered  one  another,  lived  in  each  other's  capitals  and 
shared  the  same  ambitions  so  that  in  more  recent  centuries  no 
great  change  occurred  when  new  dynasties  came  to  power  or 
territory  was  redistributed.  The  long  chronicle  of  bloodstained 
but  ineffectual  quarrels  is  relieved  by  the  exploits  of  three 
great  kings,  Anawrata,  Bayin  Naung  and  Alompra. 

Historically,  Arakan  may  be  detached  from  the  other 
provinces.  The  inhabitants  represent  an  early  migration  from 
Tagaung  and  were  not  annexed  by  any  kingdom  in  Burma  until 
1784A.D.  Tagaung,  situated  on  the  Upper  Irrawaddyin  the  Ruby 
Mines  district,  was  the  oldest  capital  of  the  Burmese  and  has  a 
scanty  history  apparently  going  back  to  the  early  centuries  of 
our  era.  Much  the  same  may  be  said  of  the  Talaing  kingdom 
in  Lower  Burma.  The  kings  of  Tagaung  were  succeeded  by 
another  dynasty  connected  with  them  which  reigned  at  Prome. 
No  dates  can  be  given  for  these  events,  nor  is  the  part  which 
the  Pyus  played  in  them  clear,  but  it  is  said  that  the  Talaings 

1  For  the  Pyus  see  Blagden  in  J.R.A.S.  pp.  365-388.  Ibid,  in  Epigr.  Indica, 
1913,  pp.  127-133.  Also  reports  of  Burma  Arch.  Survey,  1916,  1917. 


destroyed  the  kingdom  of  Prome  in  742  A.D.1  According  to 
tradition  the  centre  of  power  moved  about  this  time  to  Pagan2 
on  the  bank  of  the  Irrawaddy  somewhat  south  of  Mandalay. 
But  the  silence  of  early  Chinese  accounts3  as  to  Pagan,  which 
is  not  mentioned  before  the  Sung  dynasty,  makes  it  probable 
that  later  writers  exaggerated  its  early  importance  and  it  is 
only  when  Anawrata,  King  of  Pagan  and  the  first  great  name 
in  Burmese  history,  ascended  the  throne  that  the  course  of 
events  becomes  clear  and  coherent.  He  conquered  Thaton  in 
1057  and  transported  many  of  the  inhabitants  to  his  own  capital. 
He  also  subdued  the  nearer  Shan  states  and  was  master  of 
nearly  all  Burma  as  we  understand  the  term.  The  chief  work  of 
his  successors  was  to  construct  the  multitude  of  pagodas  which 
still  ornament  the  site  of  Pagan.  It  would  seem  that  the  dynasty 
gradually  degenerated  and  that  the  Shans  and  Talaings  ac 
quired  strength  at  its  expense.  Its  end  came  in  1298  and  was 
hastened  by  the  invasion  of  Khubilai  Khan.  There  then  arose 
two  simultaneous  Shan  dynasties  at  Panya  and  Sagaing  which 
lasted  from  1298  till  1364.  They  were  overthrown  by  King 
Thadominpaya  who  is  believed  to  have  been  a  Shan.  He 
founded  Ava  which,  whether  it  was  held  by  Burmese  or  Shans, 
was  regarded  as  the  chief  city  of  Burma  until  1752,  although 
throughout  this  period  the  kings  of  Pegu  and  other  districts 
were  frequently  independent.  During  the  fourteenth  century 
another  kingdom  grew  up  at  Toungoo4  in  Lower  Burma.  Its 
rulers  were  originally  Shan  governors  sent  from  Ava  but  ulti 
mately  they  claimed  to  be  descendants  of  the  last  king  of  Pagan 
and,  in  this  character,  Bureng  or  Bayin  Naung  (1551-1581),  the 
second  great  ruler  of  Burma,  conquered  Prome,  Pegu  and  Ava. 
His  kingdom  began  to  break  up  immediately  after  his  death 
but  his  dynasty  ruled  in  Ava  until  the  middle  of  the  eighteenth 

During  this  period  Europeans  first  made  their  appearance 
and  quarrels  with  Portuguese  adventurers  were  added  to  native 

1  So  C.  C.  Lewis  in  the  Gazetteer  of  Burma,  vol.  i.  p.  292,  but  according  to 
others  the  Burmese  chronicles  place  the  event  at  the  beginning  of  the  Christian  era. 

Sometimes  called  New  Pagan  to  distinguish  it  from  Old  Pagan  which  was  a 
name  of  Tagaung.   Also  called  Pagan  or  Pugama  and  in  Pali  Arimaddanapura. 

3  See  the  travels  of  Kia  Tan  described  by  Pelliot  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  131- 

4  More  correctly  Taung-ngu. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  49 

dissensions.  The  Shans  and  Talaings  became  turbulent  and  after 
a  tumultuous  interval  the  third  great  national  hero,  Alaung- 
paya  or  Alompra,  came  to  the  front.  In  the  short  space  of  eight 
years  (1752-1760),  he  gained  possession  of  Ava,  made  the  Bur 
mese  masters  of  both  the  northern  and  southern  provinces, 
founded  Rangoon  and  invaded  both  Manipur  and  Siam.  While 
on  the  latter  expedition  he  died.  Some  of  his  successors  held 
their  court  at  Ava  but  Bodawpaya  built  a  new  capital  at 
Amarapura  (1783)  and  Mindon  Min  another  at  Mandalay  (1857). 
The  dynasty  came  to  an  end  in  1886  when  King  Thibaw  was 
deposed  by  the  Government  of  India  and  his  dominions  an 

The  early  history  of  Buddhism  in  Burma  is  obscure,  as  in 
most  other  countries,  and  different  writers  have  maintained 
that  it  was  introduced  from  northern  India,  the  east  coast 
of  India,  Ceylon,  China  or  Camboja1.  All  these  views  may 
be  in  a  measure  true,  for  there  is  reason  to  believe  that  it 
was  not  introduced  at  one  epoch  or  from  one  source  or  in 
one  form. 

It  is  not  remarkable  that  Indian  influence  should  be  strong 
among  the  Burmese.  The  wonder  rather  is  that  they  have  pre 
served  such  strong  individuality  in  art,  institutions  and  every 
day  life,  that  no  one  can  pass  from  India  into  Burma  without 
feeling  that  he  has  entered  a  new  country.  This  is  because  the 
mountains  which  separate  it  from  Eastern  Bengal  and  run  right 
down  to  the  sea  form  a  barrier  still  sufficient  to  prevent  com- 

1  For  the  history  and  present  condition  of  Buddhism  in  Burma  the  following 
may  be  consulted  besides  other  works  referred  to  in  the  course  of  this  chapter. 

M.  Bode,  Edition  of  the  Sdsanavamsa  with  valuable  dissertations,  1897.  Thia 
work  is  a  modern  Burmese  ecclesiastical  history  written  in  1861  by  Pannasami. 

M.  Bode,  The  Pali  Literature  of  Burma,  1909. 

The  Gandhavamsa :  containing  accounts  of  many  Pali  works  written  in  Burma. 
Edited  by  Minayeff  in  Jour.  Pali  Text  Soc.  for  1886,  pp.  54  ff.  and  indexed  by 
M.  Bode,  ibid.  1896,  53  ff. 

Bigandet,  Vie  ou  Legende  de  Gautama,  1878. 

Yoe,  The  Btfrman,  his  life  and  notions. 

J.  G.  Scott,  Burma,  a  handbook  of  practical  information,  1906. 

Reports  of  the  Superintendent,  Archaeological  Survey,  Burma,  1916-1920. 

Various  articles  (especially  by  Duroiselle,  Taw-Sein-Ko  and  R.  C.  Temple)  in 
the  Indian  Antiquary,  Buddhism,  and  Bulletin  de  Vtfcole  Franchise  de  VExtreme 


munication  by  rail.  But  from  the  earliest  times  Indian  immi 
grants  and  Indian  ideas  have  been  able  to  find  their  way  both 
by  land  and  sea.  According  to  the  Burmese  chronicles  Tagaung 
was  founded  by  the  Hindu  prince  Abhiraja  in  the  ninth  century 
B.C.  and  the  kingdom  of  Arakan  claims  as  its  first  ruler  an 
ancient  prince  of  Benares.  The  legends  have  not  much  more 
historical  value  than  the  Kshattriya  genealogies  which  Brah- 
mans  have  invented  for  the  kings  of  Manipur,  but  they  show 
that  the  Burmese  knew  of  India  and  wished  to  connect  them 
selves  with  it.  This  spirit  led  not  only  to  the  invention  of  legends 
but  to  the  application  of  Indian  names  to  Burmese  localities. 
For  instance  Aparantaka,  which  really  designates  a  district  of 
western  India,  is  identified  by  native  scholars  with  Upper 
Burma1.  The  two  merchants  Tapussa  and  Bhallika  who  were 
the  first  to  salute  the  Buddha  after  his  enlightenment  are  said 
to  have  come  from  Ukkala.  This  is  usually  identified  with 
Orissa  but  Burmese  tradition  locates  it  in  Burma.  A  system  of 
mythical  geography  has  thus  arisen. 

The  Buddha  himself  is  supposed  to  have  visited  Burma,  as 
well  as  Ceylon,  in  his  lifetime2  and  even  to  have  imparted  some 
of  his  power  to  the  celebrated  image  which  is  now  in  the  Arakan 
Pagoda  at  Mandalay.  Another  resemblance  to  the  Sinhalese 
story  is  the  evangelization  of  lower  Burma  by  Asoka's  mission 
aries.  The  Dipavamsa  states3  that  Sona  and  Uttara  were  de 
spatched  to  Suvarnabhumi.  This  is  identified  with  Ramanfia- 
desa  or  the  district  of  Thaton,  which  appears  to  be  a  corruption 
of  Saddhammapura4  and  the  tradition  is  accepted  in  Burma. 
The  scepticism  with  which  modern  scholars  have  received  it  is 
perhaps  unmerited,  but  the  preaching  of  these  missionaries,  if 
it  ever  took  place,  cannot  at  present  be  connected  with  other 
historical  events.  Nevertheless  the  statement  of  the  Dipavamsa 
is  significant.  The  work  was  composed  in  the  fourth  century 
A.D.  and  taken  from  older  chronicles.  It  may  therefore  be  con- 

1  So  too  Prome  is  called  Srikshetra  and  the  name  Irrawaddy  represents  Iravati 
(the  modern  Ravi).  The  ancient  town  of  Sravasti  or  Savatthi  is  said  to  reappear  in 
the  three  forms  Tharawaddy,  Tharawaw  and  Thawutti. 

2  See  Indian  Antiquary,  1893,  p.  6,  and  Forchhammer  on  the  Mahamuni  Pagoda 
in  Burmese  Archaeological  Report  (?  1890). 

3  Dipav.  vni.  12,  and  in  a  more  embellished  form  in  Mahavamsa  xn.  44-64. 
See  also  the  Kalyani  Inscriptions  in  Indian  Ant.  1893,  p.  16. 

4  Through  the  form  Saton  representing  Saddhan.    Early  European  travellers 
called  it  Satan  or  Xatan. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  51 

eluded  that  in  the  early  centuries  of  our  era  lower  Burma  had 
the  reputation  of  being  a  Buddhist  country1.    It  also  appears 
certain  that  in  the  eleventh  century,  when  the  Talaings  were 
conquered  by  Anawrata,  Buddhist  monks  and  copies  of  the 
Tipitaka  were  found  there.    But  we  know  little  about  the 
country  in  the  preceding  centuries.  The  Kalyani  inscription  says 
that  before  Anawrata's  conquest  it  was  divided  and  decadent 
and  during  this  period  there  is  no  proof  of  intercourse  with 
Ceylon  but  also  no  disproof.  One  result  of  Anawrata's  conquest 
of  Thaton  was  that  he  exchanged  religious  embassies  with  the 
king  of  Ceylon,  and  it  is  natural  to  suppose  that  the  two  mon- 
archs  were  moved  to  this  step  by  traditions  of  previous  com 
munications.   Intercourse  with  the  east  coast  of  India  may  be 
assumed  as  natural,  and  is  confirmed  by  the  presence  of  Sanskrit 
words  in  old  Talaing  and  the  information  about  southern  India 
in  Talaing  records,  in  which  the  city  of  Conjevaram,  the  great 
commentator  Dharmapala  and  other  men  of  learning  are  often 
mentioned.  Analogies  have  also  been  traced  between  the  archi 
tecture  of  Pagan  and  southern  India2.  It  will  be  seen  that  such 
communication  by  sea  may  have  brought  not  only  Hinayanist 
Buddhism  but  also  Mahayanist  and  Tantric  Buddhism  as  well 
as  Brahmanism  from  Bengal  and  Orissa,  so  that  it  is  not  sur 
prising  if  all  these  influences  can  be  detected  in  the  ancient  build 
ings  and  sculptures  of  the  country3.  Still  the  most  important 
evidence  as  to  the  character  of  early  Burmese  Buddhism  is 
Hinayanist  and  furnished  by  inscriptions  on  thin  golden  plates 
and  tiles,  found  near  the  ancient  site  of  Prome  and  deciphered 
by  Finot4.  They  consist  of  Hinayanist  religious  formulae:  the 
language  is  Pah':  the  alphabet  is  of  a  south  Indian  type  and 
is  said  to  resemble  closely  that  used  in  the  inscriptions  of  the 
Kadamba  dynasty  which  ruled  in  Kanara  from  the  third  to  the 

1  The  Burmese  identify  Aparantaka  and  Yona  to  which  Asoka  also  sent  mission 
aries  with  Upper  Burma  and  the  Shan  country.    But  this  seems  to  be  merely  a 
misapplication  of  Indian  names. 

2  See  Forchhammer,  Jardine  Prize  Essay,  1885,  pp.  23-27.    He  also  says  that 
the  earliest  Talaing  alphabet  is  identical  with  the  Vengi  alphabet  of  the  fourth 
century  A.D.   Burma  Archaeol.  Report,  1917,  p.  29. 

3  See  R.  C.  Temple,  "Notes  on  Antiquities  of  Ramanfiadesa,"  Ind.  Antiq.  1893, 
pp.  327  ff.  Though  I  admit  the  possibility  that  Mahayanism  and  Tantrism  may 
have  nourished  in  lower  Burma,  it  does  not  seem  to  me  that  the  few  Hindu  figures 
reproduced  in  this  article  prove  very  much. 

4  J.A.  1912,  H.  pp.  121-136. 


sixth  century.  It  is  to  the  latter  part  of  this  period  that  the 
inscriptions  are  to  be  attributed.  They  show  that  a  form  of  the 
Hinayana,  comparable,  so  far  as  the  brief  documents  permit 
us  to  judge,  with  the  church  of  Ceylon,  was  then  known  in  lower 
Burma  and  was  probably  the  state  church.  The  character  of 
the  writing,  taken  together  with  the  knowledge  of  southern 
India  shown  by  the  Talaing  chronicles  and  the  opinion  of  the 
Dipavamsa  that  Burma  was  a  Buddhist  country,  is  good 
evidence  that  lower  Burma  had  accepted  Hinayanism  before 
the  sixth  century  and  had  intercourse  with  southern  India. 
More  than  that  it  would  perhaps  be  rash  to  say. 

The  Burmese  tradition  that  Buddhaghosa  was  a  native  of 
Thaton  and  returned  thither  from  Ceylon  merits  more  attention 
than  it  has  received.  It  can  be  easily  explained  away  as  patriotic 
fancy.  On  the  other  hand,  if  Buddhaghosa's  object  was  to 
invigorate  Hinayanism  in  India,  the  result  of  his  really  stu 
pendous  labours  was  singularly  small,  for  in  India  his  name  is 
connected  with  no  religious  movement.  But  if  we  suppose  that 
he  went  to  Ceylon  by  way  of  the  holy  places  in  Magadha  and 
returned  from  the  Coromandel  Coast  to  Burma  where  Hina 
yanism  afterwards  nourished,  we  have  at  least  a  coherent  nar 

It  is  noticeable  that  Taranatha  states2  that  in  the  Koki 
countries,  among  which  he  expressly  mentions  Pukham  (Pagan) 
and  Hamsavati  (Pegu),  Hinayanism  was  preached  from  the 
days  of  Asoka  onwards,  but  that  the  Mahay  ana  was  not  known 
until  the  pupils  of  Vasubandhu  introduced  it. 

The  presence  of  Hinayanism  in  Lower  Burma  naturally  did 
not  prevent  the  arrival  of  Mahay anism.  It  has  not  left  many 
certain  traces  but  Atisa  (c.  1000),  a  great  figure  in  the  history 
of  Tibetan  Buddhism,  is  reported  to  have  studied  both  in 
Magadha  and  in  Suvarnadvipa  by  which  Thaton  must  be 
meant.  He  would  hardly  have  done  this,  had  the  clergy  of 
Thaton  been  unfriendly  to  Tantric  learning.  This  mediaeval 
Buddhism  was  also,  as  in  other  countries,  mixed  with  Hinduism 

1  It  is  remarkable  that  Buddhaghosa  commenting  on  Ang.  Nik.  1.14.  6  (quoted 
by  Forchhammer)  describes  the  merchants  of  Ukkala  as  inhabiting  Asitanjana  in 
the  region  of  Hamsavati  or  Pegu.  This  identification  of  Ukkala  with  Burmese 
territory  is  a  mistake  but  accepted  in  Burma  and  it  is  more  likely  that  a  Burmese 
would  have  made  it  than  a  Hindu. 

8  Chap,  xxxix. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  53 

but  whereas  in  Camboja  and  Champa  Sivaism,  especially  the 
worship  of  the  lingam,  was  long  the  official  and  popular  cult 
and  penetrated  to  Siam,  few  Sivaite  emblems  but  numerous 
statues  of  Vishnuite  deities  have  hitherto  been  discovered  in 

The  above  refers  chiefly  to  Lower  Burma.  The  history  of 
Burmese  Buddhism  becomes  clearer  in  the  eleventh  century  but 
before  passing  to  this  new  period  we  must  enquire  what  was 
the  religious  condition  of  Upper  Burma  in  the  centuries  pre 
ceding  it.  It  is  clear  that  any  variety  of  Buddhism  or  Brah- 
manism  may  have  entered  this  region  from  India  by  land  at 
any  epoch.  According  to  both  Hsiian  Chuang  and  I-Ching 
Buddhism  flourished  in  Samatata  and  the  latter  mentions 
images  of  Avalokita  and  the  reading  of  the  Prajna-paramita. 
The  precise  position  of  Samatata  has  not  been  fixed  but  in  any 
case  it  was  in  the  east  of  Bengal  and  not  far  from  the  modern 
Burmese  frontier.  The  existence  of  early  Sanskrit  inscriptions 
at  Taungu  and  elsewhere  has  been  recorded  but  not  with  as 
much  detail  as  could  be  wished1.  Figures  of  Bodhisattvas  and 
Indian  deities  are  reported  from  Prome2,  and  in  the  Lower 
Chindwin  district  are  rock-cut  temples  resembling  the  caves  of 
Barabar  in  Bengal.  Inscriptions  also  show  that  at  Prome  there 
were  kings,  perhaps  in  the  seventh  century,  who  used  the  Pyu 
language  but  bore  Sanskrit  titles.  According  to  Burmese  tradi 
tion  the  Buddha  himself  visited  the  site  of  Pagan  and  prophesied 
that  a  king  called  Sammutiraya  would  found  a  city  there  and 
establish  the  faith.  This  prediction  is  said  to  have  been  fulfilled 
in  108  A.D.  but  the  notices  quoted  from  the  Burmese  chronicles 
are  concerned  less  with  the  progress  of  true  religion  than  with 
the  prevalence  of  heretics  known  as  Aris3.  It  has  been  conjec 
tured  that  this  name  is  a  corruption  of  Arya  but  it  appears  that 
the  correct  orthography  is  aran  representing  an  original  aran- 
yaka,  that  is  forest  priests.  It  is  hard  to  say  whether  they  were 
degraded  Buddhists  or  an  indigenous  priesthood  who  in  some 

1  See  however  Epig.  Indica,  vol.  v.  part  iv.  Oct.  1898,  pp.  101-102.    For  the 
prevalence  of  forms  which  must  be  derived  from  Sanskrit  not  Pali  see  Burma 
Arch.  Rep.  1916,  p.  14,  and  1917,  p.  39. 

2  Report  of  Supt.  Arch.  Survey  Burma,  1909,  p.  10,   1910,   p.  13,  and   1916, 
pp.  33,  38.   Finot,  Notes  d'Epigraphie,  p.  357. 

8  See  especially  Finot  in  J.A.  1912,  n.  p.  123,  and  Huber  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1909 
p.  584. 


ways  imitated  what  they  knew  of  Brahmanic  and  Buddhist 
institutions.  They  wore  black  robes,  let  their  hair  grow,  wor 
shipped  serpents,  hung  up  in  their  temples  the  heads  of  animals 
that  had  been  sacrificed,  and  once  a  year  they  assisted  the  king 
to  immolate  a  victim  to  the  Nats  on  a  mountain  top.  They 
claimed  power  to  expiate  all  sins,  even  parricide.  They  lived  in 
convents  (which  is  their  only  real  resemblance  to  Buddhist 
monks)  but  were  not  celibate1.  Anawrata  is  said  to  have  sup 
pressed  the  Aris  but  he  certainly  did  not  extirpate  them  for  an 
inscription  dated  1468  records  their  existence  in  the  Myingyan 
district.  Also  in  a  village  near  Pagan  are  preserved  Tantric 
frescoes  representing  Bodhisattvas  with  their  Saktis.  In  one 
temple  is  an  inscription  dated  1248  and  requiring  the  people  to 
supply  the  priests  morning  and  evening  with  rice,  beef,  betel, 
and  a  jar  of  spirits2.  It  is  not  clear  whether  these  priests  were 
Aris  or  not,  but  they  evidently  professed  an  extreme  form  of 
Buddhist  Saktism. 

Chinese  influences  in  Upper  Burma  must  also  be  taken  into 
account.  Burmese  kings  were  perhaps  among  the  many 
potentates  who  sent  religious  embassies  to  the  Emperor  Wu-ti 
about  525  A.D.  and  the  T'ang3  annals  show  an  acquaintance  with 
Burma.  They  describe  the  inhabitants  as  devout  Buddhists, 
reluctant  to  take  life  or  even  to  wear  silk,  since  its  manufacture 
involves  the  death  of  the  silk  worms.  There  were  a  hundred 
monasteries  into  which  the  youth  entered  at  the  age  of  seven, 
leaving  at  the  age  of  twenty,  if  they  did  not  intend  to  become 
monks.  The  Chinese  writer  does  not  seem  to  have  regarded  the 
religion  of  Burma  as  differing  materially  from  Buddhism  as  he 
knew  it  and  some  similarities  in  ecclesiastical  terminology  shown 
by  Chinese  and  Burmese  may  indicate  the  presence  of  Chinese 

1  The  Aris  are  further  credited  with  having  practised  a  sort  of  jus  primes 
noctis.   See  on  this  question  the  chapter  on  Camboja  and  alleged  similar  customs 

2  See  Burma  Arch.  Rep.  1916,  pp.  12,  13.  They  seem  to  have  been  similar  to 
the  NilapatanadarSana  of  Ceylon.  The  Prabodhacandrodaya  (about  1100  A.D.) 
represents  Buddhist  monks  as  drunken  and  licentious. 

3  See  Parker,  Burma,  1892.  The  annalist  says  "There  is  a  huge  white  elephant 
(or  image)  100  feet  high.    Litigants  burn  incense  and  kneel  before  it,  reflecting 
within  themselves  whether  they  are  right  or  wrong. . . .  When  there  is  any  disaster 
or  plague  the  king  also  kneels  in  front  of  it  and  blames  himself."    The  Chinese 
character  means  either  image  or  elephant,  but  surely  the  former  must  be  the 
meaning  here. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  55 

influence1.  But  this  influence,  though  possibly  strong  between 
the  sixth  and  tenth  centuries  A.D.,  and  again  about  the  time  of 
the  Chinese  invasion  of  12842,  cannot  be  held  to  exclude  Indian 

Thus  when  Anawrata  came  to  the  throne3  several  forms  of 
religion  probably  co -existed  at  Pagan,  and  probably  most  of 
them  were  corrupt,  though  it  is  a  mistake  to  think  of  his 
dominions  as  barbarous.  The  reformation  which  followed  is 
described  by  Burmese  authors  in  considerable  detail  and  as 
usual  in  such  accounts  is  ascribed  to  the  activity  of  one  per 
sonality,  the  Thera  Arahanta  who  came  from  Thaton  and  en 
joyed  Anawrata's  confidence.  The  story  implies  that  there  was 
a  party  in  Pagan  which  knew  that  the  prevalent  creed  was 
corrupt  and  also  looked  upon  Thaton  and  Ceylon  as  religious 
centres.  As  Anawrata  was  a  man  of  arms  rather  than  a  theo 
logian,  we  may  conjecture  that  his  motive  was  to  concentrate  in 
his  capital  the  flower  of  learning  as  known  in  his  time — a  motive 
which  has  often  animated  successful  princes  in  Asia  and  led  to 
the  unceremonious  seizure  of  living  saints.  According  to  the 
story  he  broke  up  the  communities  of  Aris  at  the  instigation  of 
Arahanta  and  then  sent  a  mission  to  Manohari,  king  of  Pegu, 
asking  for  a  copy  of  the  Tipitaka  and  for  relics.  He  received  a 
contemptuous  reply  intimating  that  he  was  not  to  be  trusted 
with  such  sacred  objects.  Anawrata  in  indignation  collected  an 
army,  marched  against  the  Talaings  and  ended  by  carrying  off 
to  Pagan  not  only  elephant  loads  of  scriptures  and  relics,  but 
also  all  the  Talaing  monks  and  nobles  with  the  king  himself4. 
The  Pitakas  were  stored  in  a  splendid  pagoda  and  Anawrata 

1  See  Taw-Sein-Ko,  in  Ind.  Antiquary,  1906,  p.  211.   But  I  must  confess  that  I 
have  not  been  able  to  follow  or  confirm  all  the  etymologies  suggested  by  him. 

2  See  for  Chinese  remains  at  Pagan,  Report  of  the  Superintendent,  Arch.  Survey, 
Burma,  for  year  ending  31st  March,  1910,  pp.  20,  21.    An  inscription  at  Pagan 
records  that  in  1285  Khubilai's  troops  were  accompanied  by  monks  sent  to  evan 
gelize  Burma.    Both  troops  and  monks  halted  at  Tagaung  and  both  were  sub 
sequently  withdrawn.   See  Arch.  Survey,  1917,  p.  38. 

3  The  date  of  Anawrata's  conquest  of  Thaton  seems  to  be  now  fixed  by  inscrip 
tions  as  1057  A.D.,  though  formerly  supposed  to  be  earlier.   See  Burma  Arch.  Eep. 
1916.   For  Anawrata's  religious  reforms  see  Sdsanavamsa,  pp.  17  ff.  and  57  ff. 

4  It  has  been  noted  that  many  of  the  inscriptions  explanatory  of  the  scenes 
depicted  on  the  walls  of  the  Ananda  temple  at  Pagan  are  in  Talaing,  showing  that 
it  was  some  time  before  the  Burmans  were  able  to  assimilate  the  culture  of  the 
conquered  country. 


sent  to  Ceylon1  for  others  which  were  compared  with  the 
copies  obtained  from  Thaton  in  order  to  settle  the  text2. 

For  200  years,  that  is  from  about  1060  A.D.  until  the  later 
decades  of  the  thirteenth  century,  Pagan  was  a  great  centre  of 
Buddhist  culture  not  only  for  Burma  but  for  the  whole  east, 
renowned  alike  for  its  architecture  and  its  scholarship.  The 
former  can  still  be  studied  in  the  magnificent  pagodas  which 
mark  its  site.  Towards  the  end  of  his  reign  Anawrata  made  not 
very  successful  attempts  to  obtain  relics  from  China  and  Ceylon 
and  commenced  the  construction  of  the  Shwe  Zigon  pagoda. 
He  died  before  it  was  completed  but  his  successors,  who  enjoyed 
fairly  peaceful  reigns,  finished  the  work  and  constructed  about 
a  thousand  other  buildings  among  which  the  most  celebrated  is 
the  Ananda  temple  erected  by  King  Kyansitha3. 

Pali  literature  in  Burma  begins  with  a  little  grammatical 
treatise  known  as  Karika  and  composed  in  1064  A.D.  by  the 
monk  Dhammasenapati  who  lived  in  the  monastery  attached 
to  this  temple.  A  number  of  other  works  followed.  Of  these  the 
most  celebrated  was  the  Saddaniti  of  Aggavamsa  (1154),  a 
treatise  on  the  language  of  the  Tipitaka  which  became  a  classic 
not  only  in  Burma  but  in  Ceylon.  A  singular  enthusiasm  for 
linguistic  studies  prevailed  especially  in  the  reign  of  Kyocva 
(c.  1230),  when  even  women  are  said  to  have  been  distinguished 
for  the  skill  and  ardour  which  they  displayed  in  conquering  the 
difficulties  of  Pali  grammar.  Some  treatises  on  the  Abhidham- 
ma  were  also  produced. 

Like  Mohammedanism,  Hinayanist  Buddhism  is  too  simple 
and  definite  to  admit  much  variation  in  doctrine,  but  its  clergy 
are  prone  to  violent  disputes  about  apparently  trivial  questions. 
In  the  thirteenth  century  such  disputes  assumed  grave  propor 
tions  in  Burma.  About  1175  A.D.  a  celebrated  elder  named 

1  So  the  Sdsanavamsa,  p.  64  and  p.  20.  See  also  Bode,  Pali  Literature  of  Burma, 
p.  15.   But  the  Mahavamsa,  LX.  4-7,  while  recording  the  communications  between 
Vijaya  Bahu  and  Aniruddha  (=  Anawrata)  represents  Ceylon  as  asking  for  monks 
from  Ramaiina,  which  implies  that  lower  Burma  was  even  then  regarded  as  a 
Buddhist  country  with  a  fine  tradition. 

2  The  Burmese  canon  adds  four   works   to   the   Khuddaka-Nikaya,  namely: 
(a)  Milinda  Pafiha,  (6)  Netti-Pakarana,  (c)  Suttasahgaha,  (d)  Petakopadesa. 

8  Inscriptions  give  his  reign  as  1084-1112  A.D.  See  Burma  Arch.  Rep.  1916, 
p.  24.  Among  many  other  remarkable  edifices  may  be  mentioned  the  Thapinyu  or 
Thabbannu  (1100),  the  Gaudapalin  (1160)  and  the  Bodhi  (c.  1200)  which  is  a  copy 
of  the  temple  at  Bodhgaya. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  57 

Uttarajiva  accompanied  by  his  pupil  Chapata  left  for  Ceylon. 
They  spent  some  years  in  study  at  the  Mahavihara  and  Chapata 
received  ordination  there.  He  returned  to  Pagan  with  four  other 
monks  and  maintained  that  valid  ordination  could  be  conferred 
only  through  the  monks  of  the  Mahavihara,  who  alone  had  kept 
the  succession  unbroken.  He  with  his  four  companions,  having 
received  this  ordination,  claimed  power  to  transmit  it,  but  he 
declined  to  recognize  Burmese  orders.  This  pretension  aroused 
a  storm  of  opposition,  especially  from  the  Talaing  monks.  They 
maintained  that  Arahanta  who  had  reformed  Buddhism  under 
Anawrata  was  spiritually  descended  from  the  missionaries  sent 
by  Asoka,  who  were  as  well  qualified  to  administer  ordination 
as  Mahinda.  But  Chapata  was  not  only  a  man  of  learning  and 
an  author1  but  also  a  vigorous  personality  and  in  favour  at 
Court.  He  had  the  best  of  the  contest  and  succeeded  in  making 
the  Talaing  school  appear  as  seceders  from  orthodoxy.  There 
thus  arose  a  distinction  between  the  Sinhalese  or  later  school 
and  the  old  Burmese  school,  who  regarded  one  another  as 
schismatics.  A  scandal  was  caused  in  the  Sinhalese  community 
by  Rahula,  the  ablest  of  Chapata's  disciples,  who  fell  in  love 
with  an  actress  and  wished  to  become  a  layman.  His  colleagues 
induced  him  to  leave  the  country  for  decency's  sake  and  peace 
was  restored  but  subsequently,  after  Chapata's  death,  the  re 
maining  three  disciples2  fell  out  on  questions  of  discipline  rather 
than  doctrine  and  founded  three  factions,  which  can  hardly  be 
called  schools,  although  they  refused  to  keep  the  Uposatha 
days  together.  The  light  of  religion  shone  brightest  at  Pagan 
early  in  the  thirteenth  century  while  these  three  brethren  were 
alive  and  the  Sasanavamsa  states  that  at  least  three  Arhats 
lived  in  the  city.  But  the  power  of  Pagan  collapsed  under 
attacks  from  both  Chinese  and  Shans  at  the  end  of  the  century 

1  The  best  known  of  his  works  are  the  Sutta-niddesa  on  grammar  and  the 
Sankhepavannana.  The  latter  is  a  commentary  on  the  Abhidhamtnattha-sangaha, 
but  it  is  not  certain  if  Chapata  composed  it  or  merely  translated  it  from  the 

2  Some  authorities  speak  as  if  the  four  disciples  of  Chapata  had  founded  four 
sects,  but  the  reprobate  Kahnla  can  hardly  have  done  this.  The  above  account  is 
taken  from  the  Kalyani  inscription,  /??</.  Ant.  1893,  pp.  30,  31.    Jt  says  very  dis 
tinctly  "There  were  in  Pugama  (Pagan)  4  sects.    1.  The  successors  of  the  priests 
who  introduced  the  religion  from  Sudhaminanagara  (i.e.  the  Mramma  Sangha). 
2.   The  disciples  of  Sivalimahathera.     3.   The  disciples  of  Tamalindamahathera. 
4.  The  disciples  of  Ananda  Mahathera." 


and  the  last  king  became  a  monk  under  the  compulsion  of  Shan 
chiefs.  The  deserted  city  appears  to  have  lost  its  importance  as 
a  religious  centre,  for  the  ecclesiastical  chronicles  shift  the 
scene  elsewhere. 

The  two  Shan  states  which  arose  from  the  ruin  of  Pagan, 
namely  Panya  (Vijayapura)  and  Sagaing  (Jeyyapura),  encour 
aged  religion  and  learning.  Their  existence  probably  explains 
the  claim  made  in  Siamese  inscriptions  of  about  1300  that  the 
territory  of  Siam  extended  to  Hamsavati  or  Pegu  and  this  con 
tact  of  Burma  and  Siam  was  of  great  importance  for  it  must  be 
the  origin  of  Pali  Buddhism  in  Siam  which  otherwise  remains 

After  the  fall  of  the  two  Shan  states  in  1364,  Ava  (or  Ratna- 
pura)  which  was  founded  in  the  same  year  gradually  became 
the  religious  centre  of  Upper  Burma  and  remained  so  during 
several  centuries.  But  it  did  not  at  first  supersede  older  towns 
inasmuch  as  the  loss  of  political  independence  did  not  always 
involve  the  destruction  of  monasteries.  Buddhism  also  flour 
ished  in  Pegu  and  the  Talaing  country  where  the  vicissitudes  of 
the  northern  kingdoms  did  not  affect  its  fortunes. 

Anawrata  had  transported  the  most  eminent  Theras  of 
Thaton  to  Pagan  and  the  old  Talaing  school  probably  suffered 
temporarily.  Somewhat  later  we  hear  that  the  Sinhalese  school 
was  introduced  into  these  regions  by  Sariputta1,  who  had  been 
ordained  at  Pagan.  About  the  same  time  two  Theras  of  Marta- 
ban,  preceptors  of  the  Queen,  visited  Ceylon  and  on  returning 
to  their  own  land  after  being  ordained  at  the  Mahavihara  con 
sidered  themselves  superior  to  other  monks.  But  the  old  Bur 
mese  school  continued  to  exist.  Not  much  literature  was  pro 
duced  in  the  south.  Sariputta  was  the  author  of  a  Dhammathat 
or  code,  the  first  of  a  long  series  of  law  books  based  upon  Manu. 
Somewhat  later  Mahayasa  of  Thaton  (c.  1370)  wrote  several 
grammatical  works. 

The  most  prosperous  period  for  Buddhism  in  Pegu  was  the 
reign  of  Dhammaceti,  also  called  Ramadhipati  (1460-1491). 
He  was  not  of  the  royal  family,  but  a  simple  monk  who  helped 
a  princess  of  Pegu  to  escape  from  the  Burmese  court  where  she 
was  detained.  In  1453  this  princess  became  Queen  of  Pegu  and 
Dhammaceti  left  his  monastery  to  become  her  prime  minister, 

1  Also  known  by  the  title  of  Dhammavitasa.   He  was  active  in  1246. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  59 

son-in-law  and  ultimately  her  successor.  But  though  he  had 
returned  to  the  world  his  heart  was  with  the  Church.  He  was 
renowned  for  his  piety  no  less  than  for  his  magnificence  and  is 
known  to  modern  scholars  as  the  author  of  the  Kalyani  inscrip 
tions1,  which  assume  the  proportions  of  a  treatise  on  ecclesi 
astical  laws  and  history.  Their  chief  purpose  is  to  settle  an 
intricate  and  highly  technical  question,  namely  the  proper 
method  of  defining  and  consecrating  a  simd.  This  word,  which 
means  literally  boundary,  signifies  a  plot  of  ground  within  which 
Uposatha  meetings,  ordinations  and  other  ceremonies  can  take 
place.  The  expression  occurs  in  the  Vinaya  Pitaka2,  but  the 
area  there  contemplated  seems  to  be  an  ecclesiastical  district 
within  which  the  Bhikkhus  were  obliged  to  meet  for  Uposatha. 
The  modern  simd  is  much  smaller3,  but  more  important  since 
it  is  maintained  that  valid  ordination  can  be  conferred  only 
within  its  limits.  To  Dhammaceti  the  question  seemed  mo 
mentous,  for  as  he  explains,  there  were  in  southern  Burma  six 
schools  who  would  not  meet  for  Uposatha.  These  were,  first  the 
Camboja4  school  (identical  with  the  Arahanta  school)  who 
claimed  spiritual  descent  from  the  missionaries  sent  by  Asoka 
to  Suvarnabhumi,  and  then  five  divisions  of  the  Sinhalese 
school,  namely  the  three  founded  by  Chapata's  disciples  as 
already  related  and  two  more  founded  by  the  theras  of  Marta- 
ban.  Dhammaceti  accordingly  sent  a  mission  to  Ceylon  charged 
to  obtain  an  authoritative  ruling  as  to  the  proper  method  of 
consecrating  a  simd  and  conferring  ordination.  On  their  return 
a  locality  known  as  the  Kalyanisima  was  consecrated  in  the 
manner  prescribed  by  the  Mahavihara  and  during  three  years  all 
the  Bhikkhus  of  Dhammaceti's  kingdom  were  reordained  there. 
The  total  number  reached  15,666,  and  the  king  boasts  that  he 
had  thus  purified  religion  and  made  the  school  of  the  Mahavi 
hara  the  only  sect,  all  other  distinctions  being  obliterated. 

1  Found  in  Zaingganaing,  a  suburb  of  Pegu.  The  text,  translation  and  notes  are 
contained  in  various  articles  by  Taw-Sein-Ko  in  the  Indian  Antiquary  for  1893^. 

2  Mahavagga,  n.  11,  12,  13. 

3  According  to  Taw-Sein-Ko  (Ind.  Ant.  1893,  p.  11)  "about  105  or  126  feet  in 

4  No  contact  with  Cambojan  religion  is  implied.  The  sect  was  so  called  because 
its  chief  monastery  was  near  the  Camboja  market  and  this  derived  its  name  from 
the  fact  that  many  Cambojan  (probably  meaning  Shan)  prisoners  were  confined 
near  it. 

E.  in.  * 


There  can  be  little  doubt  that  in  the  fifteenth  century 
Burmese  Buddhism  had  assumed  the  form  which  it  still  has, 
but  was  this  form  due  to  indigenous  tradition  or  to  imitation  of 
Ceylon?  Five  periods  merit  attention,  (a)  In  the  sixth  century, 
and  probably  several  centuries  earlier,  Hinayanism  was  known 
in  Lower  Burma.  The  inscriptions  attesting  its  existence  are 
written  in  Pali  and  in  a  south  Indian  alphabet.  (6)  Anawrata 
(1010-1052)  purified  the  Buddhism  of  Upper  Burma  with  the 
help  of  scriptures  obtained  from  the  Talaing  country,  which 
were  compared  with  other  scriptures  brought  from  Ceylon. 

(c)  About  1200  Chapata  and  his  pupils  who  had  studied  in 
Ceylon  and  received  ordination  there  refused  to  recognize  the 
Talaing  monks  and  two  hostile  schools  were  founded,  pre 
dominant  at  first  in  Upper  and  Lower  Burma  respectively. 

(d)  About  1250  the  Sinhalese  school,  led  by  Sariputta  and  others, 
began  to  make  conquests  in  Lower  Burma  at  the  expense  of  the 
Talaing  school,    (e)  Two  centuries  later,  about  1460,  Dham- 
maceti  of  Pegu  boasts  that  he  has  purified  religion  and  made 
the  school  of  the  Mahavihara,  that  is  the  most  orthodox  form 
of  the  Sinhalese  school,  the  only  sect. 

In  connection  with  these  data  must  be  taken  the  important 
statement  that  the  celebrated  Tantrist  Atisa  studied  in  Lower 
Burma  about  1000  A.D.  Up  to  a  certain  point  the  conclusion 
seems  clear.  Pali  Hinayanism  in  Burma  was  old:  intercourse 
with  southern  India  and  Ceylon  tended  to  keep  it  pure,  whereas 
intercourse  with  Bengal  and  Orissa,  which  must  have  been 
equally  frequent,  tended  to  import  Mahayanism.  In  the  time 
of  Anawrata  the  religion  of  Upper  Burma  probably  did 
not  deserve  the  name  of  Buddhism.  He  introduced  in  its 
place  the  Buddhism  of  Lower  Burma,  tempered  by  refer 
ence  to  Ceylon.  After  1200  if  not  earlier  the  idea  prevailed 
that  the  Mahavihara  was  the  standard  of  orthodoxy  and 
that  the  Talaing  church  (which  probably  retained  some 
Mahay anist  features)  fell  below  it.  In  the  fifteenth  century 
this  view  was  universally  accepted,  the  opposition  and  indeed 
the  separate  existence  of  the  Talaing  church  having  come 
to  an  end. 

But  it  still  remains  uncertain  whether  the  earliest  Burmese 
Buddhism  came  direct  from  Magadha  or  from  the  south.  The 
story  of  Asoka's  missionaries  cannot  be  summarily  rejected 

xxxvi]  BURMA  61 

but  it  also  cannot  be  accepted  without  hesitation1.  It  is  the 
Ceylon  chronicle  which  knows  of  them  and  communication 
between  Burma  and  southern  India  was  old  and  persistent.  It 
may  have  existed  even  before  the  Christian  era. 

After  the  fall  of  Pagan,  Upper  Burma,  of  which  we  must 
now  speak,  passed  through  troubled  times  and  we  hear  little  of 
religion  or  literature.  Though  Ava  was  founded  in  1364  it  did 
not  become  an  intellectual  centre  for  another  century.  But  the 
reign  of  Narapati  (1442-1468)  was  ornamented  by  several  writers 
of  eminence  among  whom  may  be  mentioned  the  monk  poet 
Silavamsa  and  Ariyavamsa,.  an  exponent  of  the  Abhidhamma. 
They  are  noticeable  as  being  the  first  writers  to  publish  religious 
works,  either  original  or  translated,  in  the  vernacular  and  this 
practice  steadily  increased.  In  the  early  part  of  the  sixteenth 
century2  occurred  the  only  persecution  of  Buddhism  known  in 
Burma.  Thohanbwa,  a  Shan  who  had  become  king  of  Ava, 
endeavoured  to  exterminate  the  order  by  deliberate  massacre 
and  delivered  temples,  monasteries  and  libraries  to  the  flames. 
The  persecution  did  not  last  long  nor  extend  to  other  districts 
but  it  created  great  indignation  among  the  Burmese  and  was 
perhaps  one  of  the  reasons  why  the  Shan  dynasty  of  Ava  was 
overthrown  in  1555. 

Bayin  (or  Bureng)  Naung  stands  out  as  one  of  the  greatest 
personalities  in  Burmese  history.  As  a  Buddhist  he  was  zealous 
even  to  intolerance,  since  he  forced  the  Shans  and  Moslims  of 
the  northern  districts,  and  indeed  all  his  subjects,  to  make  a 
formal  profession  of  Buddhism.  He  also,  as  related  elsewhere, 
made  not  very  successful  attempts  to  obtain  the  tooth  relic 
from  Ceylon.  But  it  is  probable  that  his  active  patronage  of 
the  faith,  as  shown  in  the  construction  and  endowment  of 
religious  buildings,  was  exercised  chiefly  in  Pegu  and  this  must 
be  the  reason  why  the  Sasanavamsa  (which  is  interested  chiefly 
in  Upper  Burma)  says  little  about  him. 

His  successors  showed  little  political  capacity  but  encour 
aged  religion  and  literature.  The  study  of  the  Abhidhamma  was 

1  In  favour  of  it,  it  may  be  said  that  the  Dipavamsa  and  the  earlier  traditions 
on  which  the  Dipavamsa  is  based  are  ancient  and  impartial  witnesses:  against  it, 
that  Asoka's  attention  seems  to  have  been  directed  westwards,  not  towards  Bengal 
and  Burma,  and  that  no  very  early  proof  of  the  existence  of  Buddhism  in  Burma 
has  been  found. 

2  Apparently  about  1525-1530. 


specially  flourishing  in  the  districts  of  Ava  and  Sagaing  from 
about  1600  to  1650  and  found  many  illustrious  exponents. 
Besides  works  in  Pali,  the  writers  of  this  time  produced  numer 
ous  Burmese  translations  and  paraphrases  of  Abhidhamma 
works,  as  well  as  edifying  stories. 

In  the  latter  part  of  the  seventeenth  century  Burma  was  in 
a  disturbed  condition  and  the  Sasanavamsa  says  that  religion 
was  dimmed  as  the  moon  by  clouds.  A  national  and  religious 
revival  came  with  the  victories  of  Alompra  (1752  onwards),  but 
the  eighteenth  century  also  witnessed  the  rise  of  a  curious  and 
not  very  edifying  controversy  which  divided  the  Sangha  for 
about  a  hundred  years  and  spread  to  Ceylon1.  It  concerned  the 
manner  in  which  the  upper  robe  of  a  monk,  consisting  of  a  long 
piece  of  cloth,  should  be  worn.  The  old  practice  in  Burma  was 
to  wrap  this  cloth  round  the  lower  body  from  the  loins  to  the 
ankles,  and  draw  the  end  from  the  back  over  the  left  shoulder 
and  thence  across  the  breast  over  the  right  shoulder  so  that  it 
finally  hung  loose  behind.  But  about  1698  began  the  custom 
of  walking  with  the  right  shoulder  bare,  that  is  to  say  letting 
the  end  of  the  robe  fall  down  in  front  on  the  left  side.  The 
Sangha  became  divided  into  two  factions  known  as  Ekamsika 
(one-shouldered)  and  Pdrupana  (fully  clad).  The  bitterness  of 
the  seemingly  trivial  controversy  was  increased  by  the  fact 
that  the  Ekamsikas  could  produce  little  scriptural  warrant  and 
appealed  to  late  authorities  or  the  practice  in  Ceylon,  thus 
neglecting  sound  learning.  For  the  Vinaya  frequently2  pre 
scribes  that  the  robe  is  to  be  adjusted  so  as  to  fall  over  only  one 
shoulder  as  a  mark  of  special  respect,  which  implies  that  it  was 
usually  worn  over  both  shoulders.  In  1712  and  again  about 
twenty  years  later  arbitrators  were  appointed  by  the  king  to 
hear  both  sides,  but  they  had  not  sufficient  authority  or  learning 

1  See  Sdsanavamsa,  pp.  118  ff. 

2  E.g.  Mahavagga,  I.  29,  2;  iv.  3,  3.    Ekamsam  uttarasangam  karitva.    But 
both  arrangements  of  drapery  are  found  in  the  oldest  images  of  the  Buddha  and 
perhaps  the  Ekamsika  fashion  is  the  commoner.    See  Griinwedel,  Buddhist  Art  in 
India,  1901,  p.  172.  Though  these  images  are  considerably  later  than  the  Mahavagga 
and  prove  nothing  as  to  the  original  practice  of  the  Sangha,  yet  they  show  that 
the  Ekamsika  fashion  prevailed  at  a  relatively  early  period.    It  now  prevails  in 
Siam  and  partly  in  Ceylon.   I-Ching  (chap,  xi.)  has  a  discussion  on  the  way  robes 
were  worn  in  India  (c.  680  A.D.)  which  is  very  obscure  but  seems  to  say  that  monks 
may  keep  their  shoulders  covered  while  in  a  monastery  but  should  uncover  one 
when  they  go  out. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  63 

to  give  a  decided  opinion.  The  stirring  political  events  of  1 740  and 
the  following  years  naturally  threw  ecclesiastical  quarrels  into  the 
shade  but  when  the  great  Alompra  had  disposed  of  his  enemies 
he  appeared  as  a  modern  Asoka.  The  court  religiously  observed 
Uposatha  days  and  the  king  was  popularly  believed  to  be  a 
Bodhisattva1.  He  was  not  however  sound  on  the  great  question 
of  ecclesiastical  dress.  His  chaplain,  Atula,  belonged  to  the 
Ekamsika  party  and  the  king,  saying  that  he  wished  to  go  into 
the  whole  matter  himself  but  had  not  for  the  moment  leisure, 
provisionally  ordered  the  Sarigha  to  obey  Atula's  ruling.  But 
some  champions  of  the  other  side  stood  firm.  Alompra  dealt 
leniently  with  them,  but  died  during  his  Siamese  campaign 
before  he  had  time  to  unravel  the  intricacies  of  the  Vinaya. 

The  influence  of  Atula,  who  must  have  been  an  astute  if  not 
learned  man,  continued  after  the  king's  death  and  no  measures 
were  taken  against  the  Ekamsikas,  although  King  Hsin-byu-shin 
(1763-1776)  persecuted  an  heretical  sect  called  Paramats2.  His 
youthful  successor,  Sing-gu-sa,  was  induced  to  hold  a  public 
disputation.  The  Ekamsikas  were  defeated  in  this  contest  and 
a  royal  decree  was  issued  making  the  Parupana  discipline 
obligatory.  But  the  vexed  question  was  not  settled  for  it  came 
up  again  in  the  long  reign  (1781-1819)  of  Bodopaya.  This  king 
has  won  an  evil  reputation  for  cruelty  and  insensate  conceit3, 
but  he  was  a  man  of  vigour  and  kept  together  his  great  empire. 
His  megalomania  naturally  detracted  from  the  esteem  won  by 
his  piety.  His  benefactions  to  religion  were  lavish,  the  shrines 
and  monasteries  which  he  built  innumerable.  But  he  desired  to 
build  a  pagoda  larger  than  any  in  the  world  and  during  some 
twenty  years  wasted  an  incalculable  amount  of  labour  and 
money  on  this  project,  still  commemorated  by  a  gigantic  but 
unfinished  mass  of  brickwork  now  in  ruins.  In  order  to  supervise 
its  erection  he  left  his  palace  and  lived  at  Mingun,  where  he 

1  S&sanav.  p.   123.    Sakala-Maramma-ratthavasino   ca:   ayam   amhakam   raja 
bodhisatto  ti  voharimsu.    In  the  Po-U-Daung  inscription,  Alompra's  son,  Hsin- 
byu-shin.  says  twice  "In  virtue  of  this  my  good  deed,  may  I  become  a  Buddha,. . . 
an  omniscient  one."   Indian  Antiquary,   1893,  pp.  2  and  5.  There  is  something 
Mahayanist  in  this  aspiration.    Cf.  too  the  inscriptions  of  the  Siamese  King  Sri- 
Suryavamsa  Rama  mentioned  below. 

2  They  were  Puritans  who  objected  to  shrines  and  images  and  are  said  to  be 
represented  to-day  by  the  Sawti  sect. 

8  See  The  Burmese.  Empire  by  the  Italian  Father  Sangermano,  who  went  to 
Burma  in  1783  and  lived  there  about  20  years. 


conceived  the  idea  that  he  was  a  Buddha,  an  idea  which  had 
not  been  entirely  absent  from  the  minds  of  Alompra  and  Hsin- 
byu-shin.  It  is  to  the  credit  of  the  Theras  that,  despite  the 
danger  of  opposing  an  autocrat  as  cruel  as  he  was  crazy,  they 
refused  to  countenance  these  pretensions  and  the  king  returned 
to  his  palace  as  an  ordinary  monarch. 

If  he  could  not  make  himself  a  Buddha,  he  at  least  disposed 
of  the  Ekamsika  dispute,  and  was  probably  influenced  in  his 
views  by  Sfanabhivamsa,  a  monk  of  the  Parupana  school  whom 
he  made  his  chaplain,  although  Atula  was  still  alive.  At  first 
he  named  a  commission  of  enquiry,  the  result  of  which  was  that 
the  Ekamsikas  admitted  that  their  practice  could  not  be 
justified  from  the  scriptures  but  only  by  tradition.  A  royal 
decree  was  issued  enjoining  the  observance  of  the  Parupana 
discipline,  but  two  years  later  Atula  addressed  a  letter  to  the 
king  in  which  he  maintained  that  the  Ekamsika  costume  was 
approved  in  a  work  called  Culaganthipada,  composed  by 
Moggalana,  the  immediate  disciple  of  the  Buddha.  The  king 
ordered  representatives  of  both  parties  to  examine  this  conten 
tion  and  the  debate  between  them  is  dramatically  described  in 
the  Sasanavamsa.  It  was  demonstrated  that  the  text  on  which 
Atula  relied  was  composed  in  Ceylon  by  a  thera  named  Moggalana 
who  lived  in  the  twelfth  century  and  that  it  quoted  mediaeval 
Sinhalese  commentaries.  After  this  exposure  the  Ekamsika  party 
collapsed.  The  king  commanded  (1784)  the  Parupana  discipline 
to  be  observed  and  at  last  the  royal  order  received  obedience. 

It  will  be  observed  that  throughout  this  controversy  both 
sides  appealed  to  the  king,  as  if  he  had  the  right  to  decide  the 
point  in  dispute,  but  that  his  decision  had  no  compelling  power 
as  long  as  it  was  not  supported  by  evidence.  He  could  ensure 
toleration  for  views  regarded  by  many  as  heretical,  but  was 
unable  to  force  the  views  of  one  party  on  the  other  until  the 
winning  cause  had  publicly  disproved  the  contentions  of  its 
opponents.  On  the  other  hand  the  king  had  practical  control 
of  the  hierarchy,  for  his  chaplain  was  de  facto  head  of  the 
Church  and  the  appointment  was  strictly  personal.  It  was  not 
the  practice  for  a  king  to  take  on  his  predecessor's  chaplain  and 
the  latter  could  not,  like  a  Lamaist  or  Catholic  ecclesiastic, 
claim  any  permanent  supernatural  powers.  Bodopaya  did  some 
thing  towards  organizing  the  hierarchy  for  he  appointed  four 

xxxvi]  BURMA  65 

elders  of  repute  to  be  Sangharajas  or,  so  to  speak,  Bishops, 
with  four  more  as  assistants  and  over  them  all  his  chaplain 
Sana  as  Archbishop.  Sana  was  a  man  of  energy  and  lived  in  turn 
in  various  monasteries  supervising  the  discipline  and  studies. 

In  spite  of  the  extravagances  of  Bodopaya,  the  Church  was 
flourishing  and  respected  in  his  reign.  The  celebrated  image 
called  Mahamuni  was  transferred  from  Arakan  to  his  capital 
together  with  a  Sanskrit  library,  and  Burma  sent  to  Ceylon  not 
only  the  monks  who  founded  the  Amarapura  school  but  also 
numerous  Pali  texts.  This  prosperity  continued  in  the  reigns  of 
Bagyidaw,  Tharrawadi  and  Pagan-min,  who  were  of  little  per 
sonal  account.  The  first  ordered  the  compilation  of  the  Yazawin, 
a  chronicle  which  was  not  original  but  incorporated  and  super 
seded  other  works  of  the  same  kind.  In  his  reign  arose  a  question 
as  to  the  validity  of  grants  of  land,  etc.,  for  religious  purposes. 
It  was  decided  in  the  sense  most  favourable  to  the  order,  viz. 
that  such  grants  are  perpetual  and  are  not  invalidated  by  the 
lapse  of  time.  About  1845  there  was  a  considerable  output  of 
vernacular  literature.  The  Digha,  Samyutta  and  Anguttara 
Nikayas  with  their  commentaries  were  translated  into  Burmese 
but  no  compositions  in  Pali  are  recorded. 

From  1852  till  1877  Burma  was  ruled  by  Mindon-min,  who 
if  not  a  national  hero  was  at  least  a  pious,  peace-loving,  capable 
king.  His  chaplain,  Pafifiasami,  composed  the  Sasanavamsa,  or 
ecclesiastical  history  of  Burma,  and  the  king  himself  was  am 
bitious  to  figure  as  a  great  Buddhist  monarch,  though  with  more 
sanity  than  Bodopaya,  for  his  chief  desire  was  to  be  known  as 
the  Convener  of  the  Fifth  Buddhist  Council.  The  body  so  styled 
met  from  1868  to  1871  and,  like  the  ancient  Sangitis,  proceeded 
to  recite  the  Tipitaka  in  order  to  establish  the  correct  text.  The 
result  may  still  be  seen  at  Mandalay  in  the  collection  of  buildings 
commonly  known  as  the  four  hundred  and  fifty  Pagodas:  a 
central  Stupa  surrounded  by  hundreds  of  small  shrines  each 
sheltering  a  perpendicular  tablet  on  which  a  portion  of  this 
veritable  bible  in  stone  is  inscribed.  Mindon-min  also  corrected 
the  growing  laxity  of  the  Bhikkhus,  and  the  esteem  in  which 
the  Burmese  church  was  held  at  this  time  is  shown  by  the  fact 
that  the  monks  of  Ceylon  sent  a  deputation  to  the  Sangharaja 
of  Mandalay  referring  to  his  decision  a  dispute  about  a  simd  or 
ecclesiastical  boundary. 


Mindon-min  was  succeeded  by  Thibaw,  who  was  deposed  by 
the  British.  The  Sarigharaja  maintained  his  office  until  he  died 
in  1895.  An  interregnum  then  occurred  for  the  appointment 
had  always  been  made  by  the  king,  not  by  the  Sangha.  But 
when  Lord  Curzon  visited  Burma  in  1 90 1  he  made  arrangements 
for  the  election  by  the  monks  themselves  of  a  superior  of  the 
whole  order  and  Taunggwin  Sayadaw  was  solemnly  installed  in 
this  office  by  the  British  authorities  in  1903  with  the  title  of 
Thathanabaing 1 . 

We  may  now  examine  briefly  some  sides  of  popular  religion 
and  institutions  which  are  not  Buddhist.  It  is  an  interesting 
fact  that  the  Burmese  law  books  or  Dhammathats2,  which  are 
still  accepted  as  regulating  inheritance  and  other  domestic 
matters,  are  Indian  in  origin  and  show  no  traces  of  Sinhalese 
influence  although  since  1750  there  has  been  a  decided  tendency 
to  bring  them  into  connection  with  authorities  accepted  by 
Buddhism.  The  earliest  of  these  codes  are  those  of  Dham- 
mavilasa  (1174  A.D.)  and  of  Waguru,  king  of  Martaban  in  1280. 
They  professedly  base  themselves  on  the  authority  of  Manu 
and,  so  far  as  purely  legal  topics  are  concerned,  correspond 
pretty  closely  with  the  rules  of  the  Manava-dharmasastra.  But 
they  omit  all  prescriptions  which  involve  Brahmanic  religious 
observances  such  as  penance  and  sacrifice.  Also  the  theory  of 
punishment  is  different  and  inspired  by  the  doctrine  of  Karma, 
namely,  that  every  evil  deed  will  bring  its  own  retribution. 
Hence  the  Burmese  codes  ordain  for  every  crime  not  penalties 
to  be  suffered  by  the  criminal  but  merely  the  payment  of  com 
pensation  to  the  party  aggrieved,  proportionate  to  the  damage 
suffered3.  It  is  probable  that  the  law-books  on  which  these 
codes  were  based  were  brought  from  the  east  coast  of  India  and 

1  Thathana  is  the  Pali  Sasana.   In  Burmese  pronunciation  the  s  of  Indian  words 
regularly  appears  as  th  (=0),  r  as  y  and  j  as  z.  Thus  Thagya  for  Sakra,  Yazawin  for 

2  See  E.  Forchhammer,  Jardine  Prize  Essay  (on  the  sources  and  development 
of  Burmese  Law),  1885.   J.  Jolly,  "Recht  und  Sitte"  in  Grundriss  der  Ind.  Ar.  Phil 
1896,  pp.  41-44.   M.  H.  Bode,  Pali  Lit.  of  Burma,  pp.  83  ff.   Dhammathat  is  the 
Burmese  pronunciation  of  Dhammasattha,  Sanskrit  Dharmasastra. 

3  This  theory  did  not  prevent  the  kings  of  Burma  and  their  subordinates  from 
inflicting  atrociously  cruel  punishments. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  67 

were  of  the  same  type  as  the  code  of  Narada,  which,  though  of 
unquestioned  Brahmanic  orthodoxy,  is  almost  purely  legal  and 
has  little  to  say  about  religion.  A  subsidiary  literature  embody 
ing  local  decisions  naturally  grew  up,  and  about  1640  was  sum 
marized  by  a  Burmese  nobleman  called  Kaing-za  in  theMaharaja- 
dhammathat.  He  received  from  the  king  the  title  of  Manuraja 
and  the  name  of  Manu  became  connected  with  his  code,  though 
it  is  really  based  on  local  custom.  It  appears  to  have  superseded 
older  law-books  until  the  reign  of  Alompra  who  remodelled  the 
administration  and  caused  several  codes  to  be  compiled1.  These 
also  preserve  the  name  of  Manu,  but  he  and  Kaing-za  are 
treated  as  the  same  personage.  The  rules  of  the  older  law-books 
are  in  the  main  retained  but  are  made  to  depend  on  Buddhist 
texts.  Later  Dhammathats  become  more  and  more  decidedly 
Buddhist.  Thus  the  Mohavicchedani  (1832)  does  not  mention 
Manu  but  presents  the  substance  of  the  Manu  Dhammathats  as 
the  law  preached  by  the  Buddha. 

Direct  Indian  influence  may  be  seen  in  another  department 
not  unimportant  in  an  oriental  country.  The  court  astrologers, 
soothsayers  and  professors  of  kindred  sciences  were  even  in 
recent  times  Brahmans,  known  as  Ponna  and  mostly  from 
Manipur.  An  inscription  found  at  Pagan  and  dated  1442  men 
tions  the  gift  of  295  books2  to  the  Sangha  among  which  several 
have  Sanskrit  titles  and  about  1600  we  hear  of  Pandits  learned 
in  the  Vedasastras,  meaning  not  Vedic  learning  in  the  strict 
sense  but  combinations  of  science  and  magic  described  as 
medicine,  astronomy,  Kamasastras,  etc.  Hindu  tradition  was 
sufficiently  strong  at  the  Court  to  make  the  presence  of  experts 
in  the  Atharva  Veda  seem  desirable  and  in  the  capital  they  were 
in  request  for  such  services  as  drawing  up  horoscopes3  and 

1  Forchhammer  gives  a  list  of  39  Dhammathats  compiled  between  1753  and 

2  They  seem  to  have  included  tantric  works  of  the  Mahakalacakra  type.    See 
Bode,  Pali  Lit.  of  Burma,  p.  108,  Nos.  270,  271.   But  the  name  is  given  in  the  Pali 
form  cakka. 

3  Among  usages  borrowed  from  Hinduism  may  be  mentioned  the  daily  washing 
in  holy  water  of  the  image  in  the  Arakan  temple  at  Mandalay.    Formerly  court 
festivities,  such  as  the  New  Year's  feast  and  the  festival  of  ploughing,  were  per 
formed  by  Ponnas  and  with  Indian  rites.    On  the  other  hand  the  Ramayana  does 
not  seem  to  have  the  same  influence  on  art  and  literature  that  it  has  had  in  Siam 
and  Java,   though  scenes  from  it  are  sometimes  depicted.    See  Report,   Supt. 
Archaeolog.  Survey,  Burma,  1908,  p.  22. 


invoking  good  luck  at  weddings  whereas  monks  will  not  attend 
social  gatherings. 

More  important  as  a  non-Buddhist  element  in  Burmese 
religion  is  the  worship  of  Nats1  or  spirits  of  various  kinds.  Of 
the  prevalence  of  such  worship  there  is  no  doubt,  but  I  cannot 
agree  with  the  authorities  who  say  that  it  is  the  practical 
religion  of  the  Burmese.  No  passing  tourist  can  fail  to  see  that 
in  the  literal  as  well  as  figurative  sense  Burma  takes  its  colour 
from  Buddhism,  from  the  gilded  and  vermilion  pagodas  and 
the  yellow  robed  priests.  It  is  impossible  that  so  much  money 
should  be  given,  so  many  lives  dedicated  to  a  religion  which 
had  not  a  real  hold  on  the  hearts  of  the  people.  The  worship  of 
Nats,  wide -spread  though  it  be,  is  humble  in  its  outward  signs 
and  is  a  superstition  rather  than  a  creed.  On  several  occasions 
the  kings  of  Burma  have  suppressed  its  manifestations  when 
they  became  too  conspicuous.  Thus  Anawrata  destroyed  the 
Nat  houses  of  Pagan  and  recent  kings  forbade  the  practice  of 
firing  guns  at  funerals  to  scare  the  evil  spirits. 

Nats  are  of  at  least  three  classes,  or  rather  have  three 
origins.  Firstly  they  are  nature  spirits,  similar  to  those  revered 
in  China  and  Tibet.  They  inhabit  noticeable  natural  features  of 
every  kind,  particularly  trees,  rivers  and  mountains ;  they  may 
be  specially  connected  with  villages,  houses  or  individuals. 
Though  not  essentially  evil  they  are  touchy  and  vindictive, 
punishing  neglect  or  discourtesy  with  misfortune  and  ill-luck. 
No  explanation  is  offered  as  to  the  origin  of  many  Nats,  but 
others,  who  may  be  regarded  as  forming  the  second  category, 
are  ghosts  or  ancestral  spirits.  In  northern  Burma  Chinese 
influence  encouraged  ancestor  worship,  but  apart  from  this 
there  is  a  disposition  (equally  evident  in  India)  to  believe  that 
violent  and  uncanny  persons  and  those  who  meet  with  a  tragic 
death  become  powerful  ghosts  requiring  propitiation.  Thirdly, 
there  are  Nats  who  are  at  least  in  part  identified  with  the  Indian 
deities  recognized  by  early  Buddhism.  It  would  seem  that  the 
Thirty  Seven  Nats,  described  in  a  work  called  the  Mahagita 
Medanigyan,  correspond  to  the  Thirty  Three  Gods  of  Buddhist 
mythology,  but  that  the  number  has  been  raised  for  unknown 

1  See  especially  The  Thirty  Seven  Nats  by  Sir  R.  C.  Temple,  1906,  and  Burma 
by  Sir  J.  G.  Scott,  1906,  pp.  380  £E.  The  best  authorities  seem  agreed  that  Nat  is 
not  the  Sanskrit  Natha  but  an  indigenous  word  of  unknown  derivation. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  69 

reasons  to  37 l.  They  are  spirits  of  deceased  heroes,  and  there  is 
nothing  unbuddhist  in  this  conception,  for  the  Pitakas  fre 
quently  represent  deserving  persons  as  being  reborn  in  the 
Heaven  of  the  Thirty  Three.  The  chief  is  Thagya,  the  Sakra  or 
Indra  of  Hindu  mythology2,  but  the  others  are  heroes,  connected 
with  five  cycles  of  legends  based  on  a  popular  and  often  inac 
curate  version  of  Burmese  history3. 

Besides  Thagya  Nat  we  find  other  Indian  figures  such  as 
Man  Nat  (Mara)  and  Byamma  Nat  (Brahma).  In  diagrams 
illustrating  the  Buddhist  cosmology  of  the  Burmans4  a  series  of 
heavens  is  depicted,  ascending  from  those  of  the  Four  Kings 
and  Thirty  Three  Gods  up  to  the  Brahma  worlds,  and  each  in 
habited  by  Nats  according  to  their  degree.  Here  the  spirits  of 
Burma  are  marshalled  and  classified  according  to  Buddhist 
system  just  as  were  the  spirits  of  India  some  centuries  before. 
But  neither  in  ancient  India  nor  in  modern  Burma  have  the 
devas  or  Nats  anything  to  do  with  the  serious  business  of 
religion.  They  have  their  place  in  temples  as  guardian  genii  and 
the  whole  band  may  be  seen  in  a  shrine  adjoining  the  Shwe-zi- 
gon  Pagoda  at  Pagan,  but  this  interferes  no  more  with  the 
supremacy  of  the  Buddha  than  did  the  deputations  of  spirits 
who  according  to  the  scriptures  waited  on  him. 

Buddhism  is  a  real  force  in  Burmese  life  and  the  pride  of 
the  Burmese  people.  Every  male  Burman  enters  a  monastery 
when  he  is  about  15  for  a  short  stay.  Devout  parents  send  their 
sons  for  the  four  months  of  Was  (or  even  for  this  season  during 
three  successive  years),  but  by  the  majority  a  period  of  from 
one  month  to  one  week  is  considered  sufficient.  To  omit  this 
stay  in  a  monastery  altogether  would  not  be  respectable:  it  is 
in  common  esteem  the  only  way  to  become  a  human  being,  for 
without  it  a  boy  is  a  mere  animal.  The  praises  of  the  Buddha 

1  Possibly  in  order  to  include  four  female  spirits:  or  possibly  because  it  was  fel 
that  sundry  later  heroes  had  as  strong  a  claim  to  membership  of  this  distinguished 
body  as  the  original  33. 

2  It  is  noticeable  that  Thagya  comes  from  the  Sanskrit  Sakra  not  the  Pali 
Sakka.  Th  =  Sk.  s:  y  =  Sk.  r. 

8  See  R.  C.  Temple,  The  Thirty  Seven  Nats,  chaps,  x.-xin.,  for  these  cycles. 
4  E.g.  R.  C.  Temple,  I.e.  p.  36. 


and  vows  to  lead  a  good  life  are  commonly  recited  by  the  laity1 
every  morning  and  evening.  It  is  the  greatest  ambition  of 
most  Burmans  to  build  a  pagoda  and  those  who  are  able  to  do 
so  (a  large  percentage  of  the  population  to  judge  from  the 
number  of  buildings)  are  not  only  sure  of  their  reward  in 
another  birth  but  even  now  enjoy  respect  and  receive  the  title 
of  pagoda-builder.  Another  proof  of  devotion  is  the  existence 
of  thousands  of  monasteries2 — perhaps  on  an  average  more  than 
two  for  each  large  village  and  town — built  and  supported  by 
voluntary  contributions.  The  provision  of  food  and  domicile  for 
their  numerous  inmates  is  no  small  charge  on  the  nation,  but 
observers  are  agreed  that  it  is  cheerfully  paid  and  that  the 
monks  are  worthy  of  what  they  receive.  In  energy  and  morality 
they  seem,  as  a  class,  superior  to  their  brethren  in  Ceylon  and 
Siam,  and  their  services  to  education  and  learning  have  been 
considerable.  Every  monastery  is  also  a  school,  where  instruc 
tion  is  given  to  both  day  boys  and  boarders.  The  vast  majority 
of  Burmans  enter  such  a  school  at  the  age  of  eight  or  nine  and 
learn  there  reading,  writing,  and  arithmetic.  They  also  receive 
religious  instruction  and  moral  training.  They  commit  to 
memory  various  works  in  Pali  and  Burmese,  and  are  taught  the 
duties  which  they  owe  to  themselves,  society  and  the  state. 
Sir  J.  G.  Scott,  who  is  certainly  not  disposed  to  exaggerate  the 
influence  of  Buddhism  in  Burma,  says  that  "the  education  of 
the  monasteries  far  surpasses  the  instruction  of  the  Anglo - 
vernacular  schools  from  every  point  of  view  except  that  of 
immediate  success  in  life  and  the  obtaining  of  a  post  under 
Government3."  The  more  studious  monks  are  not  merely 
schoolmasters  but  can  point  to  a  considerable  body  of  literature 
which  they  have  produced  in  the  past  and  are  still  producing4. 
Indeed  among  the  Hinayanist  churches  that  of  Burma  has  in 
recent  centuries  held  the  first  place  for  learning.  The  age  and 
continuity  of  Sinhalese  traditions  have  given  the  Sangha  of 
Ceylon  a  correspondingly  great  prestige  but  it  has  more  than 

1  According  to  Sir  J.  G.  Scott  much  more  commonly  than  prayers  among 
Christians.  Burma,  p.  366. 

*  15,371  according  to  the  census  of  1891.  The  figures  in  the  last  census  are  not 
conveniently  arranged  for  Buddhist  statistics. 

3  Hastings'  EncycL  of  Religion  and  Ethics,  art.  "Burma  (Buddhism)." 

4  See  Bode,  Pali  Literature  in  Burma,  pp.  95  ff. 

xxxvi]  BURMA  71 

once  been  recruited  from  Burma  and  in  literary  output  it  can 
hardly  rival  the  Burmese  clergy. 

Though  many  disquisitions  on  the  Vinaya  have  been  pro 
duced  in  Burma,  and  though  the  Jatakas  and  portions  of  the 
Sutta  Pitaka  (especially  those  called  Parittam)  are  known  to 
everybody,  yet  the  favourite  study  of  theologians  appears  to 
be  the  Abhidhamma,  concerning  which  a  multitude  of  hand 
books  and  commentaries  have  been  written,  but  it  is  worth 
mentioning  that  the  Abhidhammattha-sangaha,  composed  in 
Ceylon  about  the  twelfth  century  A.D.,  is  still  the  standard  man 
ual1.  Yet  it  would  be  a  mistake  to  think  of  the  Burmese  monks 
as  absorbed  in  these  recondite  studies :  they  have  on  the  contrary 
produced  a  long  series  of  works  dealing  with  the  practical 
things  of  the  world,  such  as  chronicles,  law-books,  ethical  and 
political  treatises,  and  even  poetry,  for  Silavamsa  and  Rattha- 
pala  whose  verses  are  still  learned  by  the  youth  of  Burma  were 
both  of  them  Bhikkhus.  The  Sangha  has  always  shown  a  laud 
able  reserve  in  interfering  directly  with  politics,  but  in  former 
times  the  king's  private  chaplain  was  a  councillor  of  importance 
and  occasionally  matters  involving  both  political  and  religious 
questions  were  submitted  to  a  chapter  of  the  order.  In  all  cases 
the  influence  of  the  monks  in  secular  matters  made  for  justice 
and  peace:  they  sometimes  interceded  on  behalf  of  the  con 
demned  or  represented  that  taxation  was  too  heavy.  In  1886, 
when  the  British  annexed  Burma,  the  Head  of  the  Sangha  for 
bade  monks  to  take  part  in  the  political  strife,  a  prohibition 
which  was  all  the  more  remarkable  because  King  Thibaw  had 
issued  proclamations  saying  that  the  object  of  the  invasion  was 
to  destroy  Buddhism. 

In  essentials  monastic  life  is  much  the  same  in  Burma  and 
Ceylon  but  the  Burmese  standard  is  higher,  and  any  monk 
known  to  miscon'duct  himself  would  be  driven  out  by  the  laity. 
The  monasteries  are  numerous  but  not  large  and  much  space 
is  wasted,  for,  though  the  exterior  suggests  that  they  are  built 
in  several  stories  the  interior  usually  is  a  single  hall,  although  it 
may  be  divided  by  partitions.  To  the  eastern  side  is  attached  a 
chapel  containing  images  of  Gotama  before  which  daily  devotions 

1  No  less  than  22  translations  of  it  have  been  made  into  Burmese.  See  S.  Z. 
Aung  in  J.P.T.S.  1912,  p.  129.  He  also  mentions  that  night  lectures  on  the  Abhi 
dhamma  in  Burmese  are  given  in  monasteries. 


are  performed.  It  is  surmounted  by  a  steeple  culminating  in 
a  kti,  a  sort  of  baldachino  or  sacred  umbrella  placed  also  on 
the  top  of  dagobas,  and  made  of  open  metal  work  hung  with 
little  bells.  Monasteries  are  always  built  outside  towns  and, 
though  many  of  them  become  subsequently  enclosed  by  the 
growth  of  the  larger  cities,  they  retain  spacious  grounds  in 
which  there  may  be  separate  buildings,  such  as  a  library,  dor 
mitories  for  pupils  and  a  hall  for  performing  the  ordination 
service.  The  average  number  of  inmates  is  six.  A  large  establish 
ment  may  house  a  superior,  four  monks,  some  novices  and 
besides  them  several  lay  scholars.  The  grades  are  Sahin  or 
novice,  Pyit-shin  or  fully  ordained  monk  and  Pongyi,  literally 
great  glory,  a  monk  of  at  least  ten  years'  standing.  Bank  de 
pends  on  seniority — that  is  to  say  the  greatest  respect  is  shown 
to  the  monk  who  has  observed  his  vows  for  the  longest  period, 
but  there  are  some  simple  hierarchical  arrangements.  At  the 
head  of  each  monastery  is  a  Saya  or  superior,  and  all  the 
monasteries  of  a  large  town  or  a  country  district  are  under  the 
supervision  of  a  Provincial  called  Gaing-Ok.  At  the  head  of 
the  whole  church  is  the  Thathanabaing,  already  mentioned. 
All  these  higher  officials  must  be  Pongyis. 

Although  all  monks  must  take  part  in  the  daily  round  to 
collect  alms  yet  in  most  monasteries  it  is  the  custom  (as  in 
Ceylon  and  Siam)  not  to  eat  the  food  collected,  or  at  least  not 
all  of  it,  and  though  no  solid  nourishment  is  taken  after  midday, 
three  morning  meals  are  allowed,  namely,  one  taken  very  early, 
the  next  served  on  the  return  from  the  begging  round  and  a 
third  about  11.30.  Two  or  three  services  are  intoned  before  the 
image  of  the  Buddha  each  day.  At  the  morning  ceremony, 
which  takes  place  about  5.30,  all  the  inmates  of  the  monastery 
prostrate  themselves  before  the  superior  and  vow  to  observe 
the  precepts  during  the  day.  At  the  conclusion  of  the  evening 
service  a  novice  announces  that  a  day  has  passed  away  and  in 
a  loud  voice  proclaims  the  hour,  the  day  of  the  week,  the  day 
of  the  month  and  the  year.  The  laity  do  not  usually  attend  these 
services,  but  near  large  monasteries  there  are  rest  houses  for 
the  entertainment  of  visitors  and  Uposatha  days  are  often 
celebrated  by  a  pious  picnic.  A  family  or  party  of  friends  take 
a  rest-house  for  a  day,  bring  a  goodly  store  of  cheroots  and  betel 
nut,  which  are  not  regarded  as  out  of  place  during  divine 

xxxvi]  BURMA  73 

service1,  and  listen  at  their  ease  to  the  exposition  of  the  law 
delivered  by  a  yellow-robed  monk.  When  the  congregation  in 
cludes  women  he  holds  a  large  fan-leaf  palm  before  his  face  lest 
his  eyes  should  behold  vanity.  A  custom  which  might  not  be 
to  the  taste  of  western  ecclesiastics  is  that  the  congregation  ask 
questions  and,  if  they  do  not  understand,  request  the  preacher 
to  be  clearer. 

There  is  little  sectarianism  in  Burma  proper,  but  the  Sawtis, 
an  anti-clerical  sect,  are  found  in  some  numbers  in  the  Shan 
States  and  similar  communities  called  Man  are  still  met  with 
in  Pegu  and  Tenasserim,  though  said  to  be  disappearing.  Both 
refuse  to  recognize  the  Sangha,  monasteries  or  temples  and  per 
form  their  devotions  in  the  open  fields.  Otherwise  their  mode 
of  thought  is  Buddhist,  for  they  hold  that  every  man  can  work 
out  his  own  salvation  by  conquering  Mara2,  as  the  Buddha  did, 
and  they  use  the  ordinary  formulae  of  worship,  except  that 
they  omit  all  expressions  of  reverence  to  the  Sangha.  The  ortho 
dox  Sangha  is  divided  into  two  schools  known  as  Mahagandi 
and  Sulagandi.  The  former  are  the  moderate  easy-going 
majority  who  maintain  a  decent  discipline  but  undeniably 
deviate  somewhat  from  the  letter  of  the  Vinaya.  The  latter  are 
a  strict  and  somewhat  militant  Puritan  minority  who  protest 
against  such  concessions  to  the  flesh.  They  insist  for  instance 
that  a  monk  should  eat  out  of  his  begging  bowl  exactly  as  it  is 
at  the  end  of  the  morning  round  and  they  forbid  the  use  of  silk 
robes,  sunshades  and  sandals.  The  Sulagandi  also  believe  in  free 
will  and  attach  more  value  to  the  intention  than  the  action  in 
estimating  the  value  of  good  deeds,  whereas  the  Mahagandi 
accept  good  actions  without  enquiring  into  the  motive  and 
believe  that  all  deeds  are  the  result  of  karma. 

In  Burma  all  the  higher  branches  of  architecture  are  almost 
exclusively  dedicated  to  religion.  Except  the  Palace  at  Manda- 
lay  there  is  hardly  a  native  building  of  note  which  is  not  con 
nected  with  a  shrine  or  monastery.  Burmese  architectural 

1  But  on  such  occasions  the  laity  usually  fast  after  midday. 

2  Man  is  the  Burmese  form  of  Mara. 


forms  show  most  analogy  to  those  of  Nepal  and  perhaps1  both 
preserve  what  was  once  the  common  style  for  wooden  buildings 
in  ancient  India.  In  recent  centuries  the  Burmese  have  shown 
little  inclination  to  build  anything  that  can  be  called  a  temple, 
that  is  a  chamber  containing  images  and  the  paraphernalia  of 
worship.  The  commonest  form  of  religious  edifice  is  the  dagoba 
or  zedi2:  images  are  placed  in  niches  or  shrines,  which  shelter 
them,  but  only  rarely,  as  on  the  platform  of  the  Shwe  Dagon  at 
Rangoon,  assume  the  proportions  of  rooms.  This  does  not  apply 
to  the  great  temples  of  Pagan,  built  from  about  1050  to  1200, 
but  that  style  was  not  continued  and  except  the  Arakan 
Pagoda  at  Mandalay  has  perhaps  no  modern  representative. 
Details  of  these  buildings  may  be  found  in  the  works  of  Forch- 
hammer,  Fergusson,  de  Beylie  and  various  archaeological  re 
ports.  Their  construction  is  remarkably  solid.  They  do  not,  like 
most  large  buildings  in  India  or  Europe,  contain  halls  of  some 
size  but  are  rather  pyramids  traversed  by  passages.  But  this 
curious  disinclination  to  build  temples  of  the  usual  kind  is  not 
due  to  any  dislike  of  images.  In  no  Buddhist  country  are  they 
more  common  and  their  numbers  are  more  noticeable  because 
there  is  here  no  pantheon  as  in  China  and  Tibet,  but  images  of 
Gotama  are  multiplied,  merely  in  order  to  obtain  merit.  Some 
slight  variety  in  these  figures  is  produced  by  the  fact  that  the 
Burmese  venerate  not  only  Gotama  but  the  three  Buddhas  who 
preceded  him3.  The  Shwe  Dagon  Pagoda  is  reputed  to  contain 
relics  of  all  four;  statues  of  them  all  stand  in  the  beautiful 
Ananda  Pagoda  at  Pagan  and  not  infrequently  they  are  repre 
sented  by  four  sitting  figures  facing  the  four  quarters.  A  gigantic 
group  of  this  kind  composed  of  statues  nearly  90  feet  high 

1  Among  the  most  striking  characteristics  of  the  Nepalese  style  are  buildings  of 
many  stories  each  with  a  projecting  roof.    No  examples  of  similar  buildings  from 
ancient  India  have  survived,  perhaps  because  they  were  made  of  wood,  but  repre 
sentations  of  two-storied  buildings  have  come  down  to  us,  for  instance  on  the 
Sohgaura  copper  plate  which  dates  probably  from  the  time  of  Asoka  (see  Biihler, 
W.Z.K.M.  1896,  p.  138).   See  also  the  figures  in  Foucher's  Art  Greco-bouddhique  du 
Gandhdra,  on  pp.  121,  122.  The  monuments  at  Mamallapuram  known  as  Raths 
(see  Fergusson,  Indian  and  Eastern  Architecture,  I.  p.  172)  appear  to  be  representa 
tions  of  many  storied  Viharas.  There  are  several  references  to  seven  storied  buildings 
in  the  Jatakas. 

2  =  cetiya. 

3  Occasionally  groups  of  five  Buddhas,  that  is,  these  four  Buddhas  together 
with  Metteyya,  are  found.  See  Report  of  the  Supt.  Arch.  Survey  (Burma]  for  the  year 
ending  March  3Ist,  1910,  p.  16. 




stands  in  the  outskirts  of  Pegu,  and  in  the  same  neighbourhood 
is  a  still  larger  recumbent  figure  180  feet  long.  It  had  been  for 
gotten  since  the  capture  of  Pegu  by  the  Burmans  in  1757  and 
was  rediscovered  by  the  engineers  surveying  the  route  for  the 
railway.  It  lies  almost  in  sight  of  the  line  and  is  surprising  by 
its  mere  size,  as  one  comes  upon  it  suddenly  in  the  jungle.  As 
a  wo?k  of  art  it  can  hardly  be  praised.  It  does  not  suggest  the 
Buddha  on  his  death  bed,  as  is  intended,  but  rather  some  huge 
spirit  of  the  jungle  waking  up  and  watching  the  railway  with 
indolent  amusement. 

In  Upper  Burma  there  are  not  so  many  large  images  but  as 
one  approaches  Mandalay  the  pagodas  add  more  and  more  to 
the  landscape.  Many  are  golden  and  the  rest  are  mostly  white 
and  conspicuous.  They  crown  the  hills  and  punctuate  the  wind 
ings  of  the  valleys.  Perhaps  Burmese  art  and  nature  are  seen 
at  their  best  near  Sagaing  on  the  bank  of  the  Irrawaddy,  a 
mighty  flood  of  yellow  water,  sweeping  down  smooth  and  steady, 
but  here  and  there  showing  whirlpools  that  look  like  molten 
metal.  From  the  shore  rise  hills  of  moderate  height  studded 
with  monasteries  and  shrines.  Flights  of  white  steps  lead  to  the 
principal  summits  where  golden  spires  gleam  and  everywhere 
are  pagodas  of  all  ages,  shapes  and  sizes.  Like  most  Asiatics  the 
Burmese  rarely  repair,  but  build  new  pagodas  instead  of  reno 
vating  the  old  ones.  The  instinct  is  not  altogether  unjust.  A 
pagoda  does  not  collapse  like  a  hollow  building  but  understands 
the  art  of  growing  old.  Like  a  tree  it  may  become  cleft  or  over 
grown  with  moss  but  it  remains  picturesque.  In  the  neighbour 
hood  of  Sagaing  there  is  a  veritable  forest  of  pagodas;  humble 
seedlings  built  by  widows'  mites,  mature  golden  domes  reared 
by  devout  prosperity  and  venerable  ruins  decomposing  as  all 
compound  things  must  do. 

The  pagoda  slaves  are  a  curious  institution  connected  with 
temples.  Under  the  Burmese  kings  persons  could  be  dedicated 
to  pagodas  and  by  this  process  not  only  became  slaves  for  life 
themselves  but  involved  in  the  same  servitude  all  their  posterity, 
none  of  whom  could  by  any  method  become  free.  They  formed 
a  low  caste  like  the  Indian  Pariahs  and  though  the  British 
Government  has  aoolished  the  legal  status  of  slavery,  the  social 
stigma  which  clings  to  them  is  said  to  be  undiminished. 

Art   and  architecture  make   the   picture  of  Burma  as  it 


E.  III. 


remains  in  memory  and  they  are  the  faithful  reflection  of  the 
character  and  ways  of  its  inhabitants,  their  cheerful  but  religious 
temper,  their  love  of  what  is  fanciful  and  graceful,  their  moder 
ate  aspirations  towards  what  is  arduous  and  sublime.  The  most 
striking  feature  of  this  architecture  is  its  free  use  of  gold  and 
colour.  In  no  country  of  the  world  is  gilding  and  plating  with 
gold  so  lavishly  employed  on  the  exterior  of  buildings.  The 
larger  Pagodas  such  as  the  Shwe  Dagon  are  veritable  pyramids 
of  gold,  and  the  roofs  of  the  Arakan  temple  as  they  rise  above 
Mandalay  show  tier  upon  tier  of  golden  beams  and  plates.  The 
brilliancy  is  increased  by  the  equally  lavish  use  of  vermilion, 
sometimes  diversified  by  glass  mosaic.  I  remember  once  in  an 
East  African  jungle  seeing  a  clump  of  flowers  of  such  brilliant 
red  and  yellow  that  for  a  moment  I  thought  it  was  a  fire. 
Somewhat  similar  is  the  surprise  with  which  one  first  gazes  on 
these  edifices.  I  do  not  know  whether  the  epithet  flamboyant 
can  be  correctly  applied  to  them  as  architecture  but  both  in 
colour  and  shape  they  imitate  a  pile  of  flame,  for  the  outlines 
of  monasteries  and  shrines  are  fanciful  in  the  extreme;  gabled 
roofs  with  finials  like  tongues  of  fire  and  panels  rich  with 
carvings  and  fret-work.  The  buildings  of  Hindus  and  Burmans 
are  as  different  as  their  characters.  When  a  Hindu  temple  is 
imposing  it  is  usually  because  of  its  bulk  and  mystery,  whereas 
these  buildings  are  lighthearted  and  fairy-like :  heaps  of  red  and 
yellow  fruit  with  twining  leaves  and  tendrils  that  have  grown 
by  magic.  Nor  is  there  much  resemblance  to  Japanese  archi 
tecture.  There  also,  lacquer  and  gold  are  employed  to  an  unusual 
extent  but  the  flourishes,  horns  and  finials  which  in  Burma 
spring  from  every  corner  and  projection  are  wanting  and  both 
Japanese  and  Chinese  artists  are  more  sparing  and  reticent. 
They  distribute  ornament  so  as  to  emphasize  and  lead  up  to 
the  more  important  parts  of  their  buildings,  whereas  the  open- 
handed,  splendour-loving  Burman  puts  on  every  panel  and 
pillar  as  much  decoration  as  it  will  hold. 

The  result  must  be  looked  at  as  a  whole  and  not  too  minutely. 
The  best  work  is  the  wood  carving  which  has  a  freedom  and 
boldness  often  missing  in  the  minute  and  crowded  designs  of 
Indian  art.  Still  as  a  rule  it  is  at  the  risk  of  breaking  the  spell 
that  you  examine  the  details  of  Burmese  ornamentation.  Better 
rest  content  with  your  first  amazement  on  beholding  these 

xxxvi]  BURMA  77 

carved  and  pinnacled  piles  of  gold  and  vermilion,  where  the 
fantastic  animals  and  plants  seem  about  to  break  into  life. 

The  most  celebrated  shrine  in  Burma  is  the  Shwe  Dagon 
Pagoda  which  attracts  pilgrims  from  all  the  Buddhist  world. 
No  descriptions  of  it  gave  me  any  idea  of  its  real  appearance 
nor  can  I  hope  that  I  shall  be  more  successful  in  giving  the 
reader  my  own  impressions.  The  pagoda  itself  is  a  gilt  bell- 
shaped  mass  rather  higher  than  the  Dome  of  St  Paul's  and 
terminating  in  a  spire.  It  is  set  in  the  centre  of  a  raised  mound 
or  platform,  approached  by  lofty  flights  of  steps.  The  platform, 
which  is  paved  and  level,  is  of  imposing  dimensions,  some  nine 
hundred  feet  long  and  seven  hundred  wide.  Round  the  base  of 
the  central  pagoda  is  a  row  of  shrines  and  another  row  runs 
round  the  edge  of  the  platform  so  that  one  moves,  as  it  were,  in 
a  street  of  these  edifices,  leading  here  and  there  into  side 
squares  where  are  quiet  retreats  with  palm  trees  and  gigantic 
images.  But  when  after  climbing  the  long  staircase  one  first 
emerges  on  the  platform  one  does  not  realize  the  topography 
at  once  and  seems  to  have  entered  suddenly  into  Jerusalem  the 
Golden.  Right  and  left  are  rows  of  gorgeous,  fantastic  sanc 
tuaries,  all  gold,  vermilion  and  glass  mosaic,  and  within  them 
sit  marble  figures,  bland,  enigmatic  personages  who  seem  to 
invite  approach  but  offer  no  explanation  of  the  singular  scene 
or  the  part  they  play  in  it.  If  analyzed  in  detail  the  artistic 
merits  of  these  shrines  might  be  found  small  but  the  total 
impression  is  unique.  The  Shwe  Dagon  has  not  the  qualities 
which  usually  distinguish  great  religious  buildings.  It  is  not 
specially  impressive  by  its  majesty  or  holiness;  it  is  certainly 
wanting  in  order  and  arrangement.  But  on  entering  the  plat 
form  one  feels  that  one  has  suddenly  passed  from  this  life  into 
another  and  different  world.  It  is  not  perhaps  a  very  elevated 
world;  certainly  not  the  final  repose  of  the  just  or  the  steps  of 
the  throne  of  God,  but  it  is  as  if  you  were  walking  in  the  bazaars 
of  Paradise — one  of  those  Buddhist  Paradises  where  the  souls 
of  the  moderately  pure  find  temporary  rest  from  the  whirl  of 
transmigration,  where  the  very  lotus  flowers  are  golden  and  the 
leaves  of  the  trees  are  golden  bells  that  tinkle  in  the  perfumed 


THE  Buddhism  of  Siam  does  not  differ  materially  from  that  of 
Burma  and  Ceylon  but  merits  separate  mention,  since  it  has 
features  of  its  own  due  in  some  measure  to  the  fact  that  Siam 
is  still  an  independent  kingdom  ruled  by  a  monarch  who  is  also 
head  of  the  Church.  But  whereas  for  the  last  few  centuries  this 
kingdom  may  be  regarded  as  a  political  and  religious  unit,  its 
condition  in  earlier  times  was  different  and  Siamese  history 
tells  us  nothing  of  the  introduction  and  first  diffusion  of  Indian 
religions  in  the  countries  between  India  and  China. 

1  The  principal  sources  for  information  about  Siamese  Buddhism  are:  Journal 
of  Siam  Society,  1904,  and  onwards. 

L.  Fournereau,  Le  Siam  Ancien,  2  vols.  1895  and  1908  in  Annales  du  Muse"e 
Ouimet.  Cited  here  as  Fournereau. 

Mission  Pavie  II,  Histoire  du  Laos,  du  Cambodge  et  du  Siam,  1898. 

Gerini,  Researches  on  Ptolemy's  Geography  of  Eastern  Asia,  1909.  Cited  here  as 
Gerini,  Ptolemy. 

Gerini,  Chuldkantamangala  or  Tonsure  Ceremony,  1893. 

H.  Alabaster,  The  Wheel  of  the  Law,  1871. 

P.  A.  Thompson,  Lotus  Land,  1906. 

W.  A.  Graham,  Siam,  1912. 

Petithuguenin,  "Notes  critiques  pour  servir  a  1'histoire  du  Siam,"  B.E.F.E.O. 
1916,  No.  3. 

Coedes,  "Documents  sur  la  Dynastie  de  Sukhodaya,"  ib.  1917,  No.  2. 

Much  curious  information  may  be  found  in  the  Directory  for  Bangkok  and  Siam, 
a  most  interesting  book.  I  have  only  the  issue  for  1907. 

I  have  adopted  the  conventional  European  spelling  for  such  words  as  may  be 
said  to  have  one.  For  other  words  I  have  followed  Pallegoix's  dictionary  (1896) 
for  rendering  the  vowels  and  tones  in  Roman  characters,  but  have  departed  in 
some  respects  from  his  system  of  transliterating  consonants  as  I  think  it  unnecessary 
and  misleading  to  write  j  and  x  for  sounds  which  apparently  correspond  to  y  and 
ch  as  pronounced  in  English. 

The  King  of  Siam  has  published  a  work  on  the  spelling  of  His  Majesty's  own 
language  in  Latin  letters  which  ought  to  be  authoritative,  but  it  came  into  my 
hands  too  late  for  me  to  modify  the  orthography  here  adopted. 

As  Pallegoix's  spelling  involves  the  use  of  a  great  many  accents  I  have  some 
times  begun  by  using  the  strictly  correct  orthography  and  afterwards  a  simpler  but 
intelligible  form.  It  should  be  noted  that  in  this  orthography  ":"  is  not  a  colon 
but  a  sign  that  the  vowel  before  it  is  very  short. 

CH.  XXX VTl] 



The  people  commonly  known  as  Siamese  call  themselves 
Thai  which  (in  the  form  Tai)  appears  to  be  the  racial  name  of 
several  tribes  who  can  be  traced  to  the  southern  provinces  of 
China.  They  spread  thence,  in  fanlike  fashion,  from  Laos  to 
Assam,  and  the  middle  section  ultimately  descended  the  Menam 
to  the  sea.  The  Siamese  claim  to  have  assumed  the  name  Thai 
(free)  after  they  threw  off  the  yoke  of  the  Cambojans,  but  this 
derivation  is  more  acceptable  to  politics  than  to  ethnology. 
The  territories  which  they  inhabited  were  known  as  Siern, 
Syam  or  Syama,  which  is  commonly  identified  with  the  Sanskrit 
(Syama,  dark  or  brown1.   But  the  names  Shan  and  A-hom  seem 
to  be  variants  of  the  same  word  and  Syama  is  possibly  not  its 
origin  but  a  learned  and  artificial  distortion2.  The  Lao  were 
another  division  of  the  same  race  who  occupied  the  country 
now  called  Laos  before  the  Tai  had  moved  into  Siam.  This 
movement  was  gradual  and  until  the  beginning  of  the  twelfth 
century  they  merely  established  small  principalities,  the  princi 
pal  of  which  was  Lamphun3,  on  the  western  arm  of  the  Mekong. 
They  gradually  penetrated  into  the  kingdoms  of  Svankalok, 
Sukhothai4  and  Lavo  (Lophburi)  which  then  were  vassals  of 
Camboja,  and  they  were  reinforced  by  another  body  of  Tais 
which  moved  southwards  early  in  the  twelfth  century.    For 
some  time  the  Cambojan  Empire  made  a  successful  effort  to 
control  these  immigrants  but  in  the  latter  part  of  the  thirteenth 
century  the  Siamese  definitely  shook  off  its  yoke  and  founded 
an  independent  state  with  its  capital  at  Sukhothai.  There  was 
probably  some  connection  between  these  events  and  the  south 
ern  expeditions  of  Khubilai  Khan  who  in  1254  conquered  Talifu 
and  set  the  Tai  tribes  in  motion. 

The  history  of  their  rule  in  Siam  may  be  briefly  described  as 
a  succession  of  three  kingdoms  with  capitals  at  Sukhothai, 
Ayuthia  and  Bangkok  respectively.  Like  the  Burmese,  the 
Siamese  have  annals  or  chronicles.  They  fall  into  two  divisions, 

1  The  name  is  found  on  Champan  inscriptions  of  1050  A.D.  and  according  to 
Gerini  appears  in  Ptolemy's  Samarade  =  Samarattha.   See  Gerini,  Ptolemy,  p.  170. 
But  Samarade  is  located  near  Bangkok  and  there  can  hardly  have  been  Tais  there 
in  Ptolemy's  time. 

2  So  too  in  Central  Asia  Kustana  appears  to  be  a  learned  distortion  of  the  name 
Khotan,  made  to  give  it  a  meaning  in  Sanskrit. 

3  Gerini  states  (Ptolemy,  p.  107)  that  there  are  Pali  manuscript  chronicles  of 
Lamphun  apparently  going  back  to  924  A.D. 

4  Strictly  Sukhothai. 


the  chronicles1  of  the  northern  kingdom  in  three  volumes  which 
go  down  to  the  foundation  of  Ayuthia  and  are  admitted  even 
by  the  Siamese  to  be  mostly  fabulous,  and  the  later  annals  in 
40  volumes  which  were  rearranged  after  the  sack  of  Ayuthia  in 
1767  but  claim  to  begin  with  the  foundation  of  the  city.  Various 
opinions  have  been  expressed  as  to  their  trustworthiness2,  but 
it  is  allowed  by  all  that  they  must  be  used  with  caution.  More 
authoritative  but  not  very  early  are  the  inscriptions  set  up  by 
various  kings,  of  which  a  considerable  number  have  been 
published  and  translated3. 

The  early  history  of  Sukhothai  and  its  kings  is  not  yet 
beyond  dispute  but  a  monarch  called  Ramaraja  or  Rama 
Khomheng  played  a  considerable  part  in  it.  His  identity  with 
Phaya  Ruang,  who  is  said  to  have  founded  the  dynasty  and 
city,  has  been  both  affirmed  and  denied.  Sukhothai,  at  least  as 
the  designation  of  a  kingdom,  seems  to  be  much  older  than  his 
reign4.  It  was  undoubtedly  understood  as  the  equivalent  of  the 
Sanskrit  Sukhodaya,  but  like  Syama  it  may  be  an  adaptation 
of  some  native  word.  In  an  important  inscription  found  at 
Sukhothai  and  now  preserved  at  Bangkok5,  which  was  probably 
composed  about  1300  A.D.,  Rama  Khomheng  gives  an  account  of 
his  kingdom.  On  the  east  it  extended  to  the  banks  of  the 
Mekhong  and  beyond  it  to  Chava  (perhaps  a  name  of  Luang- 
Prabang) :  on  the  south  to  the  sea,  as  far  as  Sri  Dharmaraja  or 
Ligor:  on  the  west  to  Hamsavati  or  Pegu.  This  last  statement 
is  important  for  it  enables  us  to  understand  how  at  this  period, 
and  no  doubt  considerably  earlier,  the  Siamese  were  acquainted 
with  Pali  Buddhism.  The  king  states  that  hitherto  his  people 
had  no  alphabet  but  that  he  invented  one6.  This  script  subse- 

1  Phongsa  va:  dan  or  Vamsavada.   See  for  Siamese  chronicles,  B.E.F.E.O.  1914, 
No.  3,  "Recension  palie  des  annales  d' Ayuthia,"  and  ibid.  1916,  pp.  5-7. 

2  E.g.  Aymonier  in  J.A.  1903,  p.  186,  and  Gerini  in  Journal  of  Siam  Society, 
vol.  n.  part  1,  1905. 

3  See  especially  Fournereau  and  the  publications  of  the  Mission  Pavie  and 

*  Gerini,  Ptolemy,  p.  176. 

6  See  Fournereau,  i.  p.  225.  B.E.F.E.O.  1916,  in.  pp.  8-13,  and  especially 
Bradley  in  J.  Siam  Society,  1909,  pp.  1-68. 

6  This  alphabet  appears  to  be  borrowed  from  Cambojan  but  some  of  the 
letters  particularly  in  their  later  shapes  show  the  influence  of  the  Mon  or  Talaing 
script.  The  modern  Cambojan  alphabet,  which  is  commonly  used  for  ecclesiastical 
purposes  in  Siam,  is  little  more  than  an  elaborate  form  of  Siamese. 

xxxvii]  SIAM  81 

quently  developed  into  the  modern  Siamese  writing  which, 
though  it  presents  many  difficulties,  is  an  ingenious  attempt 
to  express  a  language  with  tones  in  an  alphabet.  The  vocabulary 
of  Siamese  is  not  homogeneous :  it  comprises  (a)  a  foundation  of 
Thai,  (6)  a  considerable  admixture  of  Khmer  words,  (c)  an 
element  borrowed  from  Malay  and  other  languages,  (d)  numer 
ous  ecclesiastical  and  learned  terms  taken  from  Pali  and  San 
skrit.  There  are  five  tones  which  must  be  distinguished,  if  either 
written  or  spoken  speech  is  to  be  intelligible.  This  is  done  partly 
by  accents  and  partly  by  dividing  the  forty-four  consonants 
(many  of  which  are  superfluous  for  other  purposes)  into  three 
groups,  the  high,  middle  and  deep. 

The  king  also  speaks  of  religion.  The  court  and  the  inhabi 
tants  of  Sukhothai  were  devout  Buddhists:  they  observed  the 
season  of  Vassa  and  celebrated  the  festival  of  Kathina  with 
processions,  concerts  and  reading  of  the  scriptures.  In  the  city 
were  to  be  seen  statues  of  the  Buddha  and  scenes  carved  in 
relief,  as  well  as  large  monasteries.  To  the  west  of  the  city  was 
the  Forest  Monastery,  presented  to  a  distinguished  elder  who 
came  from  Sri  Dharmaraja  and  had  studied  the  whole  Tripitaka. 
The  mention  of  this  official  and  others  suggests  that  there  was  a 
regular  hierarchy  and  the  king  relates  how  he  exhumed  certain 
sacred  relics  and  built  a  pagoda  over  them.  Though  there  is  no 
direct  allusion  to  Brahmanism,  stress  is  laid  on  the  worship  of 
spirits  and  devas  on  which  the  prosperity  of  the  kingdom  de 

The  form  of  Buddhism  described  seems  to  have  differed 
little  from  the  Hinayanism  found  in  Siam  to-day.  Whence  did 
the  Siamese  obtain  it?  For  some  centuries  before  they  were 
known  as  a  nation,  they  probably  professed  some  form  of 
Indian  religion.  They  came  from  the  border  lands,  if  not  from 
the  actual  territory  of  China,  and  must  have  been  acquainted 
with  Chinese  Buddhism.  Also  Burmese  influence  probably 
reached  Yunnan  in  the  eighth  century1,  but  it  is  not  easy  to 
say  what  form  of  religion  it  brought  with  it.  Still  when  the 
Thai  entered  what  is  now  Siam,  it  is  likely  that  their  religion 
was  some  form  of  Buddhism.  While  they  were  subject  to  Cam- 
bo  j  a  they  must  have  felt  the  influence  of  Sivaism  and  possibly 

1  See  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  161. 


of  Mahayanist  Sanskrit  Buddhism  but  no  Pali  Buddhism  can 
have  come  from  this  quarter1. 

Southern  Siam  was  however  to  some  extent  affected  by 
another  wave  of  Buddhism.  From  early  times  the  eastern  coast 
of  India  (and  perhaps  Ceylon)  had  intercourse  not  only  with 
Burma  but  with  the  Malay  Peninsula.  It  is  proved  by  inscrip 
tions  that  the  region  of  Ligor,  formerly  known  as  Sri  Dhar- 
maraja,  was  occupied  by  Hindus  (who  were  probably  Buddhists) 
at  least  as  early  as  the  fourth  century  A.D.2,  and  Buddhist 
inscriptions  have  been  found  on  the  mainland  opposite  Penang. 
The  Chinese  annals  allude  to  a  change  in  the  customs  of  Camboja 
and  I-Ching  says  plainly  that  Buddhism  once  flourished  there 
but  was  exterminated  by  a  wicked  king,  which  may  mean  that 
Hinayanist  Buddhism  had  spread  thither  from  Ligor  but  was 
suppressed  by  a  dynasty  of  Sivaites.  He  also  says  that  at  the 
end  of  the  seventh  century  Hinayanism  was  prevalent  in  the 
islands  of  the  Southern  Sea.  An  inscription  of  about  the  fourth 
century  found  in  Kedah  and  another  of  the  seventh  or  eighth 
from  Phra  Pathom  both  contain  the  formula  Ye  dharmd,  etc. 
The  latter  inscription  and  also  one  from  Mergui  ascribed  to  the 
eleventh  century  seem  to  be  in  mixed  Sanskrit  and  Pali.  The 
Sukhothai  inscription  summarized  above  tells  how  a  learned 
monk  was  brought  thither  from  Ligor  and  clearly  the  Pali 
Buddhism  of  northern  Siam  may  have  followed  the  same  route. 
But  it  probably  had  also  another  more  important  if  not  exclusive 
source,  namely  Burma.  After  the  reign  of  Anawrata  Pali  Bud 
dhism  was  accepted  in  Burma  and  in  what  we  now  call  the 
Shan  States  as  the  religion  of  civilized  mankind  and  this  con 
viction  found  its  way  to  the  not  very  distant  kingdom  of 
Sukhothai.  Subsequently  the  Siamese  recognized  the  seniority 
and  authority  of  the  Sinhalese  Church  by  inviting  an  instructor 
to  come  from  Ceylon,  but  in  earlier  times  they  can  hardly  have 
had  direct  relation  with  the  island. 

1  Bradley,  J.  Siam  Society,  1913,  p.  10,  seems  to  think  that  Pali  Buddhism  may 
have  come  thence  but  the  objection  is  that  we  know  a  good  deal  about  the  religion 
of  Camboja  and  that  there  is  no  trace  of  Pali  Buddhism  there  until  it  was  imported 
from  Siam.  The  fact  that  the  Siamese  alphabet  was  borrowed  from  Camboja  does 
not  prove  that  religion  was  borrowed  in  the  same  way.  The  Mongol  alphabet  can 
be  traced  to  a  Nestorian  source. 

2  See  for  these  inscriptions  papers  on  the  Malay  Peninsula  and  Siam  by  Finot 
and  Lajonquiere  in  Bull,  de  la  Comm.  Archeol.  de  I'Indo-Chine,  1909,  1910  and  1912. 

xxxvn]  SIAM  83 

We  have  another  picture  of  religious  life  in  a  Khmer  inscrip 
tion1  of  Lidaiya  or  Sri  Suryavamsa  Rama  composed  in  1361  or 
a  little  later.  This  monarch,  who  is  also  known  by  many  lengthy 
titles,  appears  to  have  been  a  man  of  learning  who  had  studied 
the  Tipitaka,  the  Vedas,  the  Sastragama  and  Dharmanaya  and 
erected  images  of  Mahesvara  and  Vishnu  as  well  as  of  the 
Buddha.  In  1361  he  sent  a  messenger  to  Ceylon  charged  with 
the  task  of  bringing  back  a  Metropolitan  or  head  of  the  Sahgha 
learned  in  the  Pitakas.  This  ecclesiastic,  who  is  known  only  by 
his  title,  was  duly  sent  and  on  arriving  in  Siam  was  received 
with  the  greatest  honour  and  made  a  triumphal  progress  to 
Sukhothai.  He  is  not  represented  as  introducing  a  new  religion: 
the  impression  left  by  the  inscription  is  rather  that  the  king 
and  his  people  being  already  well-instructed  in  Buddhism  de 
sired  ampler  edification  from  an  authentic  source.  The  arrival 
of  the  Sarigharaja  coincided  with  the  beginning  of  Vassa  and 
at  the  end  of  the  sacred  season  the  king  dedicated  a  golden 
image  of  the  Buddha,  which  stood  in  the  midst  of  the  city,  and 
then  entered  the  order.  In  doing  so  he  solemnly  declared  his 
hope  that  the  merit  thus  acquired  might  make  him  in  future 
lives  not  an  Emperor,  an  Indra  or  a  Brahma  but  a  Buddha 
able  to  save  mankind.  He  pursued  his  religious  career  with  a 
gratifying  accompaniment  of  miracles  and  many  of  the  nobility 
and  learned  professions  followed  his  example.  But  after  a 
while  a  deputation  waited  on  his  Majesty  begging  him  to  return 
to  the  business  of  his  kingdom2.  An  edifying  contest  ensued. 
The  monks  besought  him  to  stay  as  their  preceptor  and  guide : 
the  laity  pointed  out  that  government  was  at  an  end  and 
claimed  his  attention.  The  matter  was  referred  to  the  Sarigharaja 
who  decided  that  the  king  ought  to  return  to  his  secular  duties. 
He  appears  to  have  found  little  difficulty  in  resuming  lay  habits 
for  he  proceeded  to  chastise  the  people  of  Luang -Prabang. 

Two  other  inscriptions3,  apparently  dating  from  this  epoch, 

1  Fournereau,  pp.  157  ff.  and  Coedes  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1917,  No.  2.    Besides  the 
inscription  itself,  which  is  badly  defaced  in  parts,  we  have  (1)  a  similar  inscription 
in  Thai,  which  is  not  however  a  translation,  (2)  a  modern  Siamese  translation,  used 
by  Schmitt  but  severely  criticised  by  Coedes  and  Petithuguenin. 

2  This  portion  of  the  narrative  is  found  only  in  Schmitt's  version  of  the  Siamese 
translation.  The  part  of  the  stone  where  it  would  have  occurred  is  defaced. 

3  See  Fournereau,  vol.  n.  inscriptions  xv  and  xvi  and  the  account  of  the  Jatakas, 
p.  43. 


relate  that  a  cutting  of  the  Bo-tree  was  brought  from  Ceylon 
and  that  certain  relics  (perhaps  from  Patna)  were  also  installed 
with  great  solemnity.  To  the  same  time  are  referred  a  series  of 
engravings  on  stone  (not  reliefs)  found  in  the  Vat-si-jum  at 
Sukhothai.  They  illustrate  about  100  Jatakas,  arranged  for 
the  most  part  according  to  the  order  followed  in  the  Pali 

The  facts  that  King  Sri  Suryavamsa  sent  to  Ceylon  for  his 
Metropolitan  and  that  some  of  the  inscriptions  which  extol  his 
merits  are  in  Pali1  make  it  probable  that  the  religion  which  he 
professed  differed  little  from  the  Pali  Buddhism  which  nourishes 
in  Siam  to-day  and  this  supposition  is  confirmed  by  the  general 
tone  of  his  inscriptions.  But  still  several  phrases  in  them  have 
a  Mahay anist  flavour.  He  takes  as  his  model  the  conduct  of  the 
Bodhisattvas,  described  as  ten  headed  by  Metteyya,  and  his  vow 
to  become  a  Buddha  and  save  all  creatures  is  at  least  twice 
mentioned.  The  Buddhas  are  said  to  be  innumerable  and  the 
feet  of  Bhikkhus  are  called  Buddha  feet2.  There  is  no  difficulty 
in  accounting  for  the  presence  of  such  ideas :  the  only  question 
is  from  what  quarter  this  Mahayanist  influence  came.  The  king 
is  said  to  have  been  a  student  of  Indian  literature :  his  country, 
like  Burma,  was  in  touch  with  China  and  his  use  of  the  Khmer 
language  indicates  contact  with  Camboja. 

Another  inscription  engraved  by  order  of  Dharmasokaraja3 
and  apparently  dating  from  the  fourteenth  century  is  remark 
able  for  its  clear  statement  of  the  doctrine  (generally  considered 
as  Mahayanist)  that  merit  acquired  by  devotion  to  the  Buddha 
can  be  transferred.  The  king  states  that  a  woman  called  Bun- 
rak  has  transferred  all  her  merit  to  the  Queen  and  that  he  him 
self  makes  over  all  his  merit  to  his  teacher,  to  his  relations  and 
to  all  beings  in  unhappy  states  of  existence. 

At  some  time  in  this  period  the  centre  of  the  Thai  empire 

1  Fournereau,  i.  pp.  247,  273.   B.E.F.E.O.  1917,  No.  2,  p.  29. 

2  See  the  texts  in  B.E.F.E.O.  I.e.  The  Bodhisattvas  are  described  as  Ariyamette- 
yadinam  dasannam  Bodhisattanam.   The  vow  to  become  a  Buddha  should  it  seems 
be  placed  in  the  mouth  of  the  King,  not  of  the  Metropolitan  as  in  Schmitt's  trans 

3  See  Fournereau,  pp.  209  ff.    Dharmasokaraja  may  perhaps  be  the  same  as 
Mahadharmaraja  who  reigned  1388-1415.   But  the  word  may  also  be  a  mere  title 
applied  to  all  kings  of   this  dynasty,  so  that  this  may  be  another  inscription  of 
Sri  Suryavamsa  Rama. 

xxxvn]  SIAM  85 

changed  but  divergent  views  have  been  held  as  to  the  date1 
and  character  of  this  event.  It  would  appear  that  in  1350  a 
Siamese  subsequently  known  as  King  Ramadhipati,  a  descen 
dant  of  an  ancient  line  of  Thai  princes,  founded  Ayuthia  as  a 
rival  to  Sukhothai.  The  site  was  not  new,  for  it  had  long  been 
known  as  Dvaravati  and  seems  to  be  mentioned  under  that 
name  by  I-Ching  (c.  680),  but  a  new  city  was  apparently  con 
structed.  The  evidence  of  inscriptions  indicates  that  Sukhothai 
was  not  immediately  subdued  by  the  new  kingdom  and  did  not 
cease  to  be  a  royal  residence  for  some  time.  But  still  Ayuthia 
gradually  became  predominant  and  in  the  fifteenth  century 
merited  the  title  of  capital  of  Siam. 

Its  rise  did  not  affect  the  esteem  in  which  Buddhism  was 
held,  and  it  must  have  contained  many  great  religious  monu 
ments.  The  jungles  which  now  cover  the  site  of  the  city  sur 
round  the  remnants  of  the  Wat  Somarokot,  in  which  is  a  gigantic 
bronze  Buddha  facing  with  scornful  calm  the  ruin  which 
threatens  him.  The  Wat  Chern,  which  lies  at  some  distance, 
contains  another  gigantic  image.  A  curious  inscription2  en 
graved  on  an  image  of  Siva  found  at  Sukhothai  and  dated 
1510  A.D.  asserts  the  identity  of  Buddhism  and  Brahmanism, 
but  the  popular  feeling  was  in  favour  of  the  former.  At  Ayuthia 
the  temples  appear  to  be  exclusively  Buddhist  and  at  Lophburi 
ancient  buildings  originally  constructed  for  the  Brahmanic  cult 
have  been  adapted  to  Buddhist  uses.  It  was  in  1602  that  the 
mark  known  as  the  footprint  of  Buddha  was  discovered  at  the 
place  now  called  Phra-bat. 

Ayuthia  was  captured  by  the  Burmese  in  1568  and  the  king 
was  carried  into  captivity  but  the  disaster  was  not  permanent, 
for  at  the  end  of  the  century  the  power  of  the  Siamese  reached  its 
highest  point  and  their  foreign  relations  were  extensive.  We  hear 
that  five  hundred  Japanese  assisted  them  to  repulse  a  Burmese 
attack  and  that  there  was  a  large  Japanese  colony  in  Ayuthia. 
On  the  other  hand  when  Hideyoshi  invaded  Korea  in  1592,  the 
Siamese  offered  to  assist  the  Chinese.  Europeans  appeared  first 
in  1511  when  the  Portuguese  took  Malacca.  But  on  the  whole 

1  1350  is  the  accepted  date  but  M.  Aymonier,  J.A.  1903,  pp.  185  ff.  argues  in 
favour  of  about  1460.  See  Fournereau,  Ancien  Siam,  p.  242,  inscription  of  1426  A.D. 
and  p.  186,  inscription  of  1510  described  as  Groupe  de  Sajjanalaya  et  Sukhodaya. 

3  Fournereau,  vol.  i.  pp.  186  ff. 


the  dealings  of  Siam  with  Europe  were  peaceful  and  both 
traders  and  missionaries  were  welcomed.  The  most  singular 
episode  in  this  international  intercourse  was  the  career  of  the 
Greek  adventurer  Constantine  Phaulcon  who  in  the  reign  of 
King  Narai  was  practically  Foreign  Minister.  In  concert  with 
the  French  missionaries  he  arranged  an  exchange  of  embassies 
(1682  and  1685)  between  Narai  and  Louis  XIV,  the  latter 
having  been  led  to  suppose  that  the  king  and  people  of  Siam 
were  ready  to  embrace  Christianity.  But  when  the  French 
envoys  broached  the  subject  of  conversion,  the  king  replied 
that  he  saw  no  reason  to  change  the  religion  which  his  country 
men  had  professed  for  two  thousand  years,  a  chronological 
statement  which  it  might  be  hard  to  substantiate.  Still,  great 
facilities  were  given  to  missionaries  and  further  negotiations 
ensued,  in  the  course  of  which  the  French  received  almost  a 
monopoly  of  foreign  trade  and  the  right  to  maintain  garrisons. 
But  the  death  of  Narai  was  followed  by  a  reaction.  Phaulcon 
died  in  prison  and  the  French  garrisons  were  expelled.  Bud 
dhism  probably  nourished  at  this  period  for  the  Mahavamsa 
tells  us  that  the  king  of  Ceylon  sent  to  Ayuthia  for  monks  in 
1750  because  religion  there  was  pure  and  undefiled. 

Ayuthia  continued  to  be  the  capital  until  1767  when  it  was 
laid  in  ruins  by  the  Burmese  who,  though  Buddhists,  did  not 
scruple  to  destroy  or  deface  the  temples  and  statues  with  which 
it  was  ornamented.  But  the  collapse  of  the  Siamese  was  only 
local  and  temporary.  A  leader  of  Chinese  origin  named  Phaya 
Tak  Sin  rallied  their  forces,  cleared  the  Burmese  out  of  the 
country  and  made  Bangkok,  officially  described  as  the  Capital 
of  the  Angels,  the  seat  of  Government.  But  he  was  deposed  in 
1782  and  one  of  the  reasons  for  his  fall  seems  to  have  been  a 
too  zealous  reformation  of  Buddhism.  In  the  troublous  times 
following  the  collapse  of  Ayuthia  the  Church  had  become  dis 
organized  and  corrupt,  but  even  those  who  desired  improvement 
would  not  assent  to  the  powers  which  the  king  claimed  over 
monks.  A  new  dynasty  (of  which  the  sixth  monarch  is  now  on 
the  throne)  was  founded  in  1782  by  Chao  Phaya  Chakkri.  One 
of  his  first  acts  was  to  convoke  a  council  for  the  revision  of  the 
Tipitaka  and  to  build  a  special  hall  in  which  the  text  thus 
agreed  on  was  preserved.  His  successor  Phra:  Buddha  Lot  La 
is  considered  the  best  poet  that  Siam  has  produced  and  it  is 

xxxvn]  SI  AM  87 

probably  the  only  country  in  the  world  where  this  distinction 
has  fallen  to  the  lot  of  a  sovereign.  The  poet  king  had  two  sons, 
Phra :  Nang :  Klao,  who  ascended  the  throne  after  his  death,  and 
Mongkut,  who  during  his  brother's  reign  remained  in  a  monas 
tery  strictly  observing  the  duties  of  a  monk.  He  then  became 
king  and  during  his  reign  (1851-1868)  Siam  "may  be  said  to 
have  passed  from  the  middle  ages  to  modern  times1."  It  is  a 
tribute  to  the  excellence  of  Buddhist  discipline  that  a  prince 
who  spent  twenty-six  years  as  a  monk  should  have  emerged  as 
neither  a  bigot  nor  an  impractical  mystic  but  as  an  active, 
enlightened  and  progressive  monarch.  The  equality  and  sim 
plicity  of  monastic  life  disposed  him  to  come  into  direct  touch 
with  his  subjects  and  to  adopt  straightforward  measures  which 
might  not  have  occurred  to  one  who  had  always  been  surrounded 
by  a  wall  of  ministers.  While  still  a  monk  he  founded  a  stricter 
sect  which  aimed  at  reviving  the  practice  of  the  Buddha,  but 
at  the  same  time  he  studied  foreign  creeds  and  took  pleasure 
in  conversing  with  missionaries.  He  wrote  several  historical 
pamphlets  and  an  English  Grammar,  and  was  so  good  a  mathe 
matician  that  he  could  calculate  the  occurrence  of  an  eclipse. 
When  he  became  king  he  regulated  the  international  position 
of  Siam  by  concluding  treaties  of  friendship  and  commerce  with 
the  principal  European  powers,  thus  showing  the  broad  and 
liberal  spirit  in  which  he  regarded  politics,  though  a  better 
acquaintance  with  the  ways  of  Europeans  might  have  made 
him  refuse  them  extraterritorial  privileges.  He  abolished  the 
custom  which  obliged  every  one  to  keep  indoors  when  the  king 
went  out  and  he  publicly  received  petitions  on  every  Uposatha 
day.  He  legislated  against  slavery2,  gambling,  drinking  spirits 
and  smoking  opium  and  considerably  improved  the  status  of 
women.  He  also  published  edicts  ordering  the  laity  to  inform 
the  ecclesiastical  authorities  if  they  noticed  any  abuses  in  the 
monasteries.  He  caused  the  annals  of  Siam  to  be  edited  and 
issued  numerous  orders  on  archaeological  and  literary  questions, 
in  which,  though  a  good  Pali  scholar,  he  deprecated  the  affected 
use  of  Pali  words  and  enjoined  the  use  of  a  terse  and  simple 
Siamese  style,  which  he  certainly  wrote  himself.  He  appears  to 

1  0.  Frankfurter,  "King  Mongkut,"  Journal  of  Siam  Society,  vol.  I.  1904. 

2  But  it  was  his  son  who  first  decreed  in  1868  that  no  Siamese  could  be  born  a 
slave.   Slavery  for  debt,  though  illegal,  is  said  not  to  be  practically  extinct. 


have  died  of  scientific  zeal  for  he  caught  a  fatal  fever  on  a  trip 
which  he  took  to  witness  a  total  eclipse  of  the  sun. 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  son  Chulalongkorn1  (1868-1911),  a 
liberal  and  enlightened  ruler,  who  had  the  misfortune  to  lose 
much  territory  to  the  French  on  one  side  and  the  English  on 
the  other.  For  religion,  his  chief  interest  is  that  he  published 
an  edition  of  the  Tipitaka.  The  volumes  are  of  European  style 
and  printed  in  Siamese  type,  whereas  Cambojan  characters 
were  previously  employed  for  religious  works. 

As  I  have  already  observed,  there  is  not  much  difference 
between  Buddhism  in  Burma  and  Siam.  In  mediaeval  times  a 
mixed  form  of  religion  prevailed  in  both  countries  and  Siam 
was  influenced  by  the  Brahmanism  and  Mahayanism  of  Cam- 
bo  j  a.  Both  seem  to  have  derived  a  purer  form  of  the  faith  from 
Pegu,  which  was  conquered  by  Anawrata  in  the  eleventh  cen 
tury  and  was  the  neighbour  of  Sukhothai  so  long  as  that  king 
dom  lasted.  Both  had  relations  with  Ceylon  and  while  vener 
ating  her  as  the  metropolis  of  the  faith  also  sent  monks  to  her 
in  the  days  of  her  spiritual  decadence.  But  even  in  externals 
some  differences  are  visible.  The  gold  and  vermilion  of  Burma 
are  replaced  in  Siam  by  more  sober  but  artistic  tints — olive, 
dull  purple  and  dark  orange — and  the  change  in  the  colour 
scheme  is  accompanied  by  other  changes  in  the  buildings. 

A  religious  establishment  in  Siam  consists  of  several  edifices 
and  is  generally  known  as  Wat2,  followed  by  some  special 
designation  such  as  Wat  Chang.  Bangkok  is  full  of  such  estab 
lishments  mostly  constructed  on  the  banks  of  the  river  or  canals. 
The  entrance  is  usually  guarded  by  gigantic  and  grotesque 
figures  which  are  often  lions,  but  at  the  Wat  Pho  in  Bangkok 
the  tutelary  demons  are  represented  by  curious  caricatures  of 
Europeans  wearing  tall  hats.  The  gate  leads  into  several  courts 
opening  out  of  one  another  and  not  arranged  on  any  fixed  plan. 
The  first  is  sometimes  surrounded  by  a  colonnade  in  which 
are  set  a  long  line  of  the  Buddha's  eighty  disciples.  The  most 

1  =Culalankara. 

2  The  word  has  been  derived  from  Vata,  a  grove,  but  may  it  not  be  the  Pali 
Vatthu,  Sanskrit  Vastu,  a  site  or  building? 

xxxvn]  SIAM  89 

important  building  in  a  Wat  is  known  as  Bot1.  It  has  a  colon 
nade  of  pillars  outside  and  is  surmounted  by  three  or  four 
roofs,  not  much  raised  one  above  the  other,  and  bearing  finials 
of  a  curious  shape,  said  to  represent  a  snake's  head2.  It  is  also 
marked  off  by  a  circuit  of  eight  stones,  cut  in  the  shape  of  Bo- 
tree  leaves,  which  constitute  a  sima  or  boundary.  It  is  in  the 
Bot  that  ordinations  and  other  acts  of  the  Sangha  are  per 
formed.  Internally  it  is  a  hall:  the  walls  are  often  covered  with 
paintings  and  at  the  end  there  is  always  a  sitting  figure  of  the 
Buddha3  forming  the  apex  of  a  pyramid,  the  lower  steps  of  which 
are  decorated  with  smaller  images  and  curious  ornaments,  such 
as  clocks  under  glass  cases. 

Siamese  images  of  the  Buddha  generally  represent  him  as 
crowned  by  a  long  flame -like  ornament  called  Siro  rot4,  probably 
representing  the  light  supposed  to  issue  from  the  prominence 
on  his  head.  But  the  ornament  sometimes  becomes  a  veritable 
crown  terminating  in  a  spire,  as  do  those  worn  by  the  kings  of 
Camboja  and  Siam.  On  the  left  and  right  of  the  Buddha  often 
stand  figures  of  Phra:  Mokha:  la  (Moggalana)  and  Phra: 
Saribut  (Sariputta).  It  is  stated  that  the  Siamese  pray  to  them 
as  saints  and  that  the  former  is  invoked  to  heal  broken  limbs5. 
The  Buddha  when  represented  in  frescoes  is  robed  in  red  but 
his  face  and  hands  are  of  gold.  Besides  the  Bot  a  Wat  contains 
one  or  more  wihans.  The  word  is  derived  from  Vihdra  but  has 
come  to  mean  an  image -house.  I'he  wihans  are  halls  not  unlike 
the  Bots  but  smaller.  In  a  large  Wat  there  is  usually  one  con 
taining  a  gigantic  recumbent  image  of  the  Buddha  and  they 
sometimes  shelter  Indian  deities  such  as  Yama. 

In  most  if  not  in  all  Wats  there  are  structures  known  as 
Phra :  chedi  and  Phra :  prang.  The  former  are  simply  the  ancient 
cetiyas,  called  dagobas  in  Ceylon  and  zedis  in  Burma.  They  do 
not  depart  materially  from  the  shape  usual  in  other  countries 

1  =Uposatha. 

2  These  finials  are  very  common  on  the  roof  ends  of  Siamese  temples  and 
palaces.    It  is  strange  that  they  also  are  found  in  conjunction  with  multiple  roofs 
in  Norwegian  Churches  of  eleventh  century.    See  de  Beylie,  Architecture  hindoue 
dans  Vextrdme  Orient,  pp.  47,  48. 

3  The  Buddha  is  generally  known  as  Phra:  Khodom  ( =Gotama). 

*  In  an  old  Siamese  bronze  from  Kampeng  Pet,  figured  in  Grunwedel's  Buddhist 
Art  in  India,  p.  179,  fig.  127,  the  Siro  rot  seems  to  be  in  process  of  evolution. 
5  P.  A.  Thompson,  Lotus  Land,  1906,  p.  100. 


and  sometimes,  for  instance  in  the  gigantic  chedi  at  Pra  Pratom, 
the  part  below  the  spire  is  a  solid  bell-shaped  dome.  But  Siam 
ese  taste  tends  to  make  such  buildings  slender  and  elongate  and 
they  generally  consist  of  stone  discs  of  decreasing  size,  set  one 
on  the  other  in  a  pile,  which  assumes  in  its  upper  parts  the 
proportions  of  a  flagstaff  rather  than  of  a  stone  building.  The 
Phra:  prangs  though  often  larger  than  the  Phra:  chedis  are 
proportionally  thicker  and  less  elongate.  They  appear  to  be 
derived  from  the  Brahmanic  temple  towers  of  Camboja  which 
consist  of  a  shrine  crowned  by  a  dome.  But  in  Siam  the  shrine 
is  often  at  some  height  above  the  ground  and  is  reduced  to 
small  dimensions,  sometimes  becoming  a  mere  niche.  In  large 
Phra:  prangs  it  is  approached  by  a  flight  of  steps  outside  and 
above  it  rises  the  tower,  terminating  in  a  metal  spire.  But 
whereas  in  the  Phra:  chedis  these  spires  are  simple,  in  the  Phra: 
prangs  they  bear  three  crescents  representing  the  trident  of 
Siva  and  appear  like  barbed  arrows.  A  large  Wat  is  sure  to 
contain  a  number  of  these  structures  and  may  also  comprise 
halls  for  preaching,  a  pavilion  covering  a  model  of  Buddha's 
foot  print,  tanks  for  ablution  and  a  bell  tower.  It  is  said  that 
only  royal  Wats  contain  libraries  and  buildings  called  chatta 
mukh,  which  shelter  a  four-faced  image  of  Brahma1. 

The  monks  are  often  housed  in  single  chambers  arranged 
round  the  courts  of  a  Wat  but  sometimes  in  larger  buildings 
outside  it.  The  number  of  monks  and  novices  living  in  one 
monastery  is  larger  than  in  Burma,  and  according  to  the  Bang 
kok  Directory  (1907)  works  out  at  an  average  of  about  12.  In 
the  larger  Wats  this  figure  is  considerably  exceeded.  Altogether 
there  were  50,764  monks  and  10,411  novices  in  19072,  the  pro 
vince  of  Ayuthia  being  decidedly  the  best  provided  with  clergy. 
As  in  Burma,  it  is  customary  for  every  male  to  spend  some 
time  in  a  monastery,  usually  at  the  age  of  about  20,  and  two 
months  is  considered  the  minimum  which  is  respectable.  It  is 
also  common  to  enter  a  monastery  for  a  short  stay  on  the  day 
when  a  parent  is  cremated.  During  the  season  of  Vassa  all 

1  Four  images  facing  the  four  quarters  are  considered  in  Burma  to  represent  the 
last  four  Buddhas  and  among  the  Jains  some  of  the  Tirthankaras  are  so  represented, 
the  legend  being  that  whenever  they  preached  they  seemed  to  face  their  hearers 
on  every  side. 

2  These  figures  only  take  account  of  twelve  out  of  the  seventeen  provinces. 




monks  go  out  to  collect  alms  but  at  other  seasons  only  a  few 
make  the  daily  round  and  the  food  collected,  as  in  Burma  and 
Ceylon,  is  generally  not  eaten.  But  during  the  dry  season  it  is 
considered  meritorious  for  monks  to  make  a  pilgrimage  to 
Phra  Bat  and  while  on  the  way  to  live  on  charity.  They  engage 
to  some  extent  in  manual  work  and  occupy  themselves  with 
carpentering1.  As  in  Burma,  education  is  in  their  hands,  and 
they  also  act  as  doctors,  though  their  treatment  has  more  to  do 
with  charms  and  faith  cures  than  with  medicine. 

As  in  Burma  there  are  two  sects,  the  ordinary  unreformed 
body,  and  the  rigorous  and  select  communion  founded  by 
Mongkut  and  called  Dhammayut.  It  aims  at  a  more  austere 
and  useful  life  but  in  outward  observances  the  only  distinction 
seems  to  be  that  the  Dhammayuts  hold  the  alms-bowl  in  front 
of  them  in  both  hands,  whereas  the  others  hold  it  against  the 
left  hip  with  the  left  hand  only.  The  hierarchy  is  well  developed 
but  somewhat  secularized,  though  probably  not  more  so  than 
it  was  in  India  under  Asoka.  In  the  official  directory  where  the 
departments  of  the  Ministry  of  Public  Instruction  are  enumer 
ated,  the  Ecclesiastical  Department  comes  immediately  after 
the  Bacteriological,  the  two  being  clearly  regarded  as  different 
methods  of  expelling  evil  spirits.  The  higher  clerical  appoint 
ments  are  made  by  the  king.  He  names  four  Primates2,  one  of 
whom  is  selected  as  chief.  The  Primates  with  nineteen  superior 
monks  form  the  highest  governing  body  of  the  Church.  Below 
them  are  twelve  dignitaries  called  Gurus,  who  are  often  heads 
of  large  Wats.  There  are  also  prelates  who  bear  the  Cambojan 
title  of  Burien  equivalent  to  Mahacarya.  They  must  have  passed 
an  examination  in  Pali  and  are  chiefly  consulted  on  matters  of 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  the  differences  between  the  churches 
of  Burma,  Ceylon  and  Siam  are  slight;  hardly  more  than  the 
local  peculiarities  which  mark  the  Roman  church  in  Italy, 
Spain,  and  England.  Different  opinions  have  been  expressed  as 
to  the  moral  tone  and  conduct  of  Siamese  monks  and  most 
critics  state  that  they  are  somewhat  inferior  to  their  Burmese 

1  Thompson,  Lotus  Land,  p.  120. 

2  They  bear  the  title  of  Somdlt  Phra:  Chao  Rajagama  and  have  authority 
respectively  over  (a)  ordinary  Buddhists  in  northern  Siam,  (6)  ordinary  Buddhists 
in  the  south,  (c)  hermits,  (d)  the  Dhammayut  sect. 

E.  in.  7 


brethren.  The  system  by  which  a  village  undertakes  to  support 
a  monk,  provided  that  he  is  a  reasonably  competent  school 
master  and  of  good  character,  works  well.  But  in  the  larger 
monasteries  it  is  admitted  that  there  are  inmates  who  have 
entered  in  the  hope  of  leading  a  lazy  life  and  even  fugitives  from 
justice.  Still  the  penalty  for  any  grave  offence  is  immediate 
expulsion  by  the  ecclesiastical  authorities  and  the  offender  is 
treated  with  extreme  severity  by  the  civil  courts  to  which  he 
then  becomes  amenable. 

The  religious  festivals  of  Siam  are  numerous  and  character 
istic.  Many  are  Buddhist,  some  are  Brahmanic,  and  some  are 
royal.  Uposatha  days  (wan  phra:)  are  observed  much  as  in 
Burma.  The  birth,  enlightenment  and  death  of  the  Buddha 
(which  are  all  supposed  to  have  taken  place  on  the  15th  day  of 
the  6th  waxing  moon)  are  celebrated  during  a  three  days 
festival.  These  three  days  are  of  peculiar  solemnity  and  are 
spent  in  the  discharge  of  religious  duties,  such  as  hearing  ser 
mons  and  giving  alms.  But  at  most  festivals  religious  observ 
ances  are  mingled  with  much  picturesque  but  secular  gaiety. 
In  the  morning  the  monks  do  not  go  their  usual  round1  and  the 
alms-bowls  are  arranged  in  a  line  within  the  temple  grounds. 
The  laity  (mostly  women)  arrive  bearing  wicker  trays  on  which 
are  vessels  containing  rice  and  delicacies.  They  place  a  selection 
of  these  in  each  bowl  and  then  proceed  to  the  Bot  where  they 
hear  the  commandments  recited  and  often  vow  to  observe  for 
that  day  some  which  are  usually  binding  only  on  monks.  While 
the  monks  are  eating  their  meal  the  people  repair  to  a  river, 
which  is  rarely  far  distant  in  Siam,  and  pour  water  drop  by 
drop  saying  "May  the  food  which  we  have  given  for  the  use  of 
the  holy  ones  be  of  benefit  to  our  fathers  and  mothers  and  to 
all  of  our  relatives  who  have  passed  away."  This  rite  is  curiously 
in  harmony  with  the  injunctions  of  the  Tirokuddasuttam  in  the 
Khuddakapatha,  which  is  probably  an  ancient  work2.  The  rest 
of  the  day  is  usually  devoted  to  pious  merrymaking,  such  as 
processions  by  day  and  illuminations  by  night.  On  some  feasts 

1  For  this  and  many  other  details  I  am  indebted  to  P.  A.  Thompson,  Lotus 
Land,  p.  123. 

2  When  gifts  of  food  are  made  to  monks  on  ceremonial  occasions,  they  usually 
acknowledge  the  receipt  by  reciting  verses  7  and  8  of  this  Sutta,  commonly  known 
as  Yathd  from  the  first  word. 

xxxvn]  8IAM  93 

the  laws  against  gambling  are  suspended  and  various  games  of 
chance  are  freely  indulged  in.  Thus  the  New  Year  festival  called 
Trut  (or  Krut)  Thai  lasts  three  days.  On  the  first  two  days, 
especially  the  second,  crowds  fill  the  temples  to  offer  flowers 
before  the  statues  of  Buddha  and  more  substantial  presents  of 
food,  clothes,  etc.,  to  the  clergy.  Well-to-do  families  invite 
monks  to  their  houses  and  pass  the  day  in  listening  to  their 
sermons  and  recitations.  Companies  of  priests  are  posted  round 
the  city  walls  to  scare  away  evil  spirits  and  with  the  same  object 
guns  are  fired  throughout  the  night.  But  the  third  day  is  devoted 
to  gambling  by  almost  the  whole  population  except  the  monks. 
Not  dissimilar  is  the  celebration  of  the  S6ngkran  holidays,  at 
the  beginning  of  the  official  year.  The  special  religious  observ 
ance  at  this  feast  consists  in  bathing  the  images  of  Buddha  and 
in  theory  the  same  form  of  watery  respect  is  extended  to  aged 
relatives  and  monks.  In  practice  its  place  is  taken  by  gifts  of 
perfumes  and  other  presents. 

The  rainy  season  is  preceded  and  ended  by  holidays.  During 
this  period  both  monks  and  pious  laymen  observe  their  religious 
duties  more  strictly.  Thus  monks  eat  only  once  a  day  and  then 
only  what  is  put  into  their  bowls  and  laymen  observe  some  of 
the  minor  vows.  At  the  end  of  the  rains  come  the  important 
holidays  known  as  Thot  Kathin1,  when  robes  are  presented  to 
monks.  This  festival  has  long  had  a  special  importance  in  Siam. 
Thus  Rama  Khomheng  in  his  inscription  of  A.D.  12922  describes 
the  feast  of  Kathina  which  lasts  a  month.  At  the  present  day 
many  thousands  of  robes  are  prepared  in  the  capital  alone  so  as 
to  be  ready  for  distribution  in  October  and  November,  when 
the  king  or  some  deputy  of  high  rank  visits  every  temple  and 
makes  the  offering  in  person.  During  this  season  Bangkok 
witnesses  a  series  of  brilliant  processions. 

These  festivals  mentioned  may  be  called  Buddhist  though 
their  light-hearted  and  splendour-loving  gaiety,  their  processions 
and  gambling  are  far  removed  from  the  spirit  of  Gotama. 
Others  however  are  definitely  Brahmanic  and  in  Bangkok  are 
superintended  by  the  Brahmans  attached  to  the  Court.  Since 
the  time  of  Mongkut  Buddhist  priests  are  also  present  as  a  sign 
that  the  rites,  if  not  ordered  by  Buddhism,  at  least  have  its 

1  Kathina  in  Pali.   See  Mahavag.  cap.  vn. 

2  Fournereau,  p.  225. 


countenance.  Such  is  the  Re'k  Na1,  or  ploughing  festival.  The 
king  is  represented  by  the  Minister  of  Agriculture  who  formerly 
had  the  right  to  exact  from  all  shops  found  open  such  taxes  as 
he  might  claim  for  his  temporary  sovereignty.  At  present  he 
is  escorted  in  procession  to  Dusit2,a  royal  park  outside  Bangkok, 
where  he  breaks  ground  with  a  plough  drawn  by  two  white 

Somewhat  similar  is  the  Thib-Chmg-Cha,  or  Swinging 
holidays,  a  two  days'  festival  which  seems  to  be  a  harvest 
thanksgiving.  Under  the  supervision  of  a  high  official,  four 
Brahmans  wearing  tall  conical  hats  swing  on  a  board  suspended 
from  a  huge  frame  about  100  ft  high.  Their  object  is  to  catch 
with  their  teeth  a  bag  of  money  hanging  at  a  little  distance 
from  the  swing.  When  three  or  four  sets  of  swingers  have  ob 
tained  a  prize  in  this  way,  they  conclude  the  ceremony  by 
sprinkling  the  ground  with  holy  water  contained  in  bullock 
horns.  Swinging  is  one  of  the  earliest  Indian  rites3  and  as  part 
of  the  worship  of  Krishna  it  has  lasted  to  the  present  day.  Yet 
another  Brahmanic  festival  is  the  Loi  Kathong4,  when  miniature 
rafts  and  ships  bearing  lights  and  offerings  are  sent  down  the 
Menam  to  the  sea. 

Another  class  of  ceremonies  may  be  described  as  royal,  inas 
much  as  they  are  religious  only  in  so  far  as  they  invoke  religion 
to  protect  royalty.  Such  are  the  anniversaries  of  the  birth  and 
coronation  of  the  king  and  the  Thii  Nam  or  drinking  of  the  water 
of  allegiance  which  takes  place  twice  a  year.  At  Bangkok  all 
officials  assemble  at  the  Palace  and  there  drink  and  sprinkle  on 
their  heads  water  in  which  swords  and  other  weapons  have  been 
dipped  thus  invoking  vengeance  on  themselves  should  they 
prove  disloyal.  Jars  of  this  water  are  despatched  to  Governors 
who  superintend  the  performance  of  the  same  ceremony  in  the 

1  The  ploughing  festival  is  a  recognized  imperial  ceremony  in  China.   In  India 
ceremonies  for  private  landowners  are  prescribed  in  the  Grihya  Sutras  but  I  do  not 
know  if  their  performance  by  kings  is  anywhere  definitely  ordered.    However  in 
the  Nidana  Katha  270  the  Buddha's  father  celebrates  an  imposing  ploughing 

2  I.e.  Tusita.   Compare  such  English  names  descriptive  of  beautiful  scenery  as 
Heaven's  Gate. 

3  See  Keith,  Alter  ey  a  Aranyaka,  pp.  174-178.  The  ceremony  there  described 
undoubtedly  originated  in  a  very  ancient  popular  festival. 

*  I.e.  float-raft.  Most  authors  give  the  word  as  Krathong,  but  Pallegoix  prefers 




provincial  capitals.  It  is  only  after  the  water  has  been  drunk 
that  officials  receive  their  half  yearly  salary.  Monks  are  excused 
from  drinking  it  but  the  chief  ecclesiastics  of  Bangkok  meet 
in  the  Palace  temple  and  perform  a  service  in  honour  of  the 

Besides  these  public  solemnities  there  are  a  number  of 
domestic  festivals  derived  from  the  twelve  Samskaras  of  the 
Hindus.  Of  these  only  three  or  four  are  kept  up  by  the  nations 
of  Indo-China,  namely  the  shaving  of  the  first  hair  of  a  child  a 
month  after  birth,  the  giving  of  a  name,  and  the  piercing  of  the 
ears  for  earrings.  This  last  is  observed  in  Burma  and  Laos,  but 
not  in  Siam  and  Camboja  where  is  substituted  for  it  the  Kon 
Chuk  or  shaving  of  the  topknot,  which  is  allowed  to  grow  until 
the  eleventh  or  thirteenth  year.  This  ceremony,  which  is  per 
formed  on  boys  and  girls  alike,  is  the  most  important  event  in 
the  life  of  a  young  Siamese  and  is  celebrated  by  well-to-do 
parents  with  lavish  expenditure.  Those  who  are  indigent  often 
avail  themselves  of  the  royal  bounty,  for  each  year  a  public 
ceremony  is  performed  in  one  of  the  temples  of  Bangkok  at 
which  poor  children  receive  the  tonsure  gratis.  An  elaborate 
description  of  the  tonsure  rites  has  been  published  by  Gerini1. 
They  are  of  considerable  interest  as  showing  how  closely 
Buddhist  and  Brahmanic  rites  are  intertwined  in  Siamese 
family  life. 

Marriages  are  celebrated  with  a  feast  to  which  monks  are 
invited  but  are  not  regarded  as  religious  ceremonies.  The  dead 
are  usually  disposed  of  by  cremation,  but  are  often  kept  some 
time,  being  either  embalmed  or  simply  buried  and  exhumed 
subsequently.  Before  cremation  the  coffin  is  usually  placed 
within  the  grounds  of  a  temple.  The  monks  read  Suttas  over  it 
and  it  is  said2  that  they  hold  ribbons  which  enter  into  the 
coffin  and  are  supposed  to  communicate  to  the  corpse  the  merit 
acquired  by  the  recitations  and  prayers. 

In  the  preceding  pages  mention  has  often  been  made  not 
only  of  Brahmanic  rites  but  of  Brahman  priests3.  These  are 

1  Chulakantamangalam,  Bangkok,  1893. 

2  P.  A.  Thompson,  Lotus  Land,  p.  134. 

3  For  the  Brahinans  of  Siam  see  Frankfurter,  Oriental.  Archiv.  1913,  pp.  196-7. 


still  to  be  found  in  Bangkok  attached  to  the  Court  and  possibly 
in  other  cities.  They  dress  in  white  and  have  preserved  many 
Hindu  usages  but  are  said  to  be  poor  Sanskrit  scholars.  Indeed 
Gerini1  seems  to  say  that  they  use  Pali  in  some  of  their  recita 
tions.  Their  principal  duty  is  to  officiate  at  Court  functions,  but 
wealthy  families  invite  them  to  take  part  in  domestic  rites,  and 
also  to  cast  horoscopes  and  fix  lucky  days.  It  is  clear  that  the 
presence  of  these  Brahmans  is  no  innovation.  Brahmanism 
must  have  been  strong  in  Siam  when  it  was  a  province  of  Cam- 
boja,  but  in  both  countries  gave  way  before  Buddhism.  Many 
rites,  however,  connected  with  securing  luck  or  predicting  the 
future  were  too  firmly  established  to  be  abolished,  and,  as 
Buddhist  monks  were  unwilling  to  perform  them2  or  not 
thought  very  competent,  the  Brahmans  remained  and  were 
perhaps  reinforced  from  time  to  time  by  new  importations,  for 
there  are  still  Brahman  colonies  in  Ligor  and  other  Malay 
towns.  Siamese  lawbooks,  like  those  of  Burma,  seem  to  be 
mainly  adaptations  of  Indian  Dharmasastras. 

On  a  cursory  inspection,  Siamese  Buddhism,  especially  as 
seen  in  villages,  seems  remarkably  free  from  alien  additions. 
But  an  examination  of  ancient  buildings,  of  royal  temples  in 
Bangkok  and  royal  ceremonial,  suggests  on  the  contrary  that 
it  is  a  mixed  faith  in  which  the  Brahmanic  element  is  strong. 
Yet  though  this  element  appeals  to  the  superstition  of  the 
Siamese  and  their  love  of  pageantry,  I  think  that  as  in  Burma 
it  has  not  invaded  the  sphere  of  religion  and  ethics  more  than 
the  Pitakas  themselves  allow.  In  art  and  literature  its  influence 
has  been  considerable.  The  story  of  the  Ramayana  is  illustrated 
on  the  cloister  walls  of  the  royal  temple  at  Bangkok  and 
Indian  mythology  has  supplied  a  multitude  of  types  to  the 
painter  and  sculptor;  such  as  Yomma:  rat  (Yama),  Phaya  Man 
(Mara),  Phra:  In  (Indra).  These  are  all  deities  known  to  the 
Pitakas  but  the  sculptures  or  images3  in  Siamese  temples  also 

1  Chulakantamangala,  p.  56. 

2  They  are  mostly  observances  such  as  Gotama  would  have  classed  among  "low 
arts"  (tiracchanavijja).    At  present  the  monks  of  Siam  deal  freely  in  charms  and 
exorcisms  but  on  important  occasions  public  opinion  seems  to  have  greater  con 
fidence  in  the  skill  and  power  of  Brahmans. 

3  King  6ri  Suryavamsa  Rama  relates  in  an  inscription  of  about  1365  how  he 
set  up  statues  of  Paramesvara  and  Vishnukarma  (?)  and  appointed  Brahmans  to 
serve  them. 

xxxvii]  SIAM  97 

include  Ganesa,  Phra:  Narai  (Narayana  or  Vishnu)  riding  on 
the  Garuda  and  Phra:  Isuen  (Siva)  riding  on  a  bull.  There  is  a 
legend  that  the  Buddha  and  Siva  tried  which  could  make  him 
self  invisible  to  the  other.  At  last  the  Buddha  sat  on  Siva's 
head  and  the  god  being  unable  to  see  him  acknowledged  his 
defeat.  This  story  is  told  to  explain  a  small  figure  which  Siva 
bears  on  his  head  and  recalls  the  legend  found  in  the  Pitakas1 
that  the  Buddha  made  himself  invisible  to  Brahma  but  that 
Brahma  had  not  the  corresponding  power.  Lingas  are  still 
venerated  in  a  few  temples,  for  instance  at  Wat  Pho  in  Bangkok, 
but  it  would  appear  that  the  majority  (e.g.  those  found  at  Pra 
Pratom  and  Lophburi)  are  survivals  of  ancient  Brahmanic 
worship  and  have  a  purely  antiquarian  importance.  The  Brah 
manic  cosmology  which  makes  Mt  Meru  the  centre  of  this 
Universe  is  generally  accepted  in  ecclesiastical  treatises  and 
paintings,  though  the  educated  Siamese  may  smile  at  it,  and 
when  the  topknot  of  a  Siamese  prince  is  cut  off,  part  of  the 
ceremony  consists  in  his  being  received  by  the  king  dressed  as 
Siva  on  the  summit  of  a  mound  cut  in  the  traditional  shape  of 
Mt  Kailasa. 

Like  the  Nats  of  Burma,  Siam  has  a  spirit  population  known 
as  Phis2.  The  name  is  occasionally  applied  to  Indian  deities, 
but  the  great  majority  of  Phis  fall  into  two  classes,  namely, 
ghosts  of  the  dead  and  nature  spirits  which,  though  dangerous, 
do  not  rise  above  the  position  of  good  or  bad  fairies.  In  the 
first  class  are  included  the  Phi  Pret,  who  have  the  character 
istics  as  well  as  the  name  of  the  Indian  Pretas,  and  also  a 
multitude  of  beings  who  like  European  ghosts,  haunt  houses 
and  behave  in  a  mysterious  but  generally  disagreeable  manner. 
The  Phi  am  is  apparently  our  nightmare.  The  ghosts  of  children 
dying  soon  after  birth  are  apt  to  kill  their  mothers  and  in 
general  women  are  liable  to  be  possessed  by  Phis.  The  ghosts 
of  those  who  have  died  a  violent  death  are  dangerous  but  it 
would  seem  that  Siamese  magicians  know  how  to  utilize  them 
as  familiar  spirits.  The  better  sort  of  ghosts  are  known  as  Chao 
Phi  and  shrines  called  San  Chao  are  set  up  in  their  honour.  It 
does  not  however  appear  that  there  is  any  hierarchy  of  Phis 
like  the  thirty-seven  Nats  of  Burma. 

1  Maj.  Nik.  47. 

2  Siam  Society,  vol.  iv.  part  ii.  1907.   Some  Siamese  ghost-lore  by  A.  J.  Irwin. 


Among  those  Phis  who  are  not  ghosts  of  the  dead  the  most 
important  is  the  Phi  ruen  or  guardian  spirit  of  each  house. 
Frequently  a  little  shrine  is  erected  for  him  at  the  top  of  a  pole. 
There  are  also  innumerable  Phis  in  the  jungle  mostly  malevolent 
and  capable  of  appearing  either  in  human  form  or  as  a  dangerous 
animal.  But  the  tree  spirits  are  generally  benevolent  and  when 
their  trees  are  cut  down  they  protect  the  houses  that  are  made 
of  them. 

Thus  the  Buddhism  of  Siam,  like  that  of  Burma,  has  a 
certain  admixture  of  Brahmanism  and  animism.  The  Brah- 
manism  is  perhaps  more  striking  than  in  Burma  on  account  of 
the  Court  ceremonies:  the  belief  in  spirits,  though  almost 
universal,  seems  to  be  more  retiring  and  less  conspicuous.  Yet 
the  inscription  of  Rama  Komheng  mentioned  above  asserts 
emphatically  that  the  prosperity  of  the  Empire  depends  on  due 
honour  being  shown  to  a  certain  mountain  spirit1. 

It  is  pretty  clear  that  the  first  introduction  of  Hinayanist 
Buddhism  into  Siam  was  from  Southern  Burma  and  Pegu,  but 
that  somewhat  later  Ceylon  was  accepted  as  the  standard  of 
orthodoxy.  A  learned  thera  who  knew  the  Sinhalese  Tipitaka 
was  imported  thence,  as  well  as  a  branch  of  the  Bo-tree.  But 
Siamese  patriotism  flattered  itself  by  imagining  that  the  national 
religion  was  due  to  personal  contact  with  the  Buddha,  although 
not  even  early  legends  can  be  cited  in  support  of  such  traditions. 
In  1602  a  mark  in  the  rocks,  now  known  as  the  Phra:  Bat,  was 
discovered  in  the  hills  north  of  Ayuthia  and  identified  as  a 
footprint  of  the  Buddha  similar  to  that  found  on  Adam's  Peak 
and  in  other  places.  Burma  and  Ceylon  both  claim  the  honour 
of  a  visit  from  the  Buddha  but  the  Siamese  go  further,  for  it  is 
popularly  believed  that  he  died  at  Praten,  a  little  to  the  north 
of  Phra  Pat  horn,  on  a  spot  marked  by  a  slab  of  rock  under  great 
trees2.  For  this  reason  when  the  Government  of  India  presented 

1  Jour.  Siam  Soc,  1909,  p.  28.    "In  yonder  mountain  is  a  demon  spirit  Phra 
Khaphung  that  is  greater  than  every  other  spirit  in  this  realm.    If  any  Prince 
ruling  this  realm  reverences  him  well  with  proper  offerings,  this  realm  stands  firm, 
this  realm  prospers.    If  the  spirit  be  not  reverenced  well,  if  the  offerings  be  not 
right,  the  spirit  in  the  mountain  does  not  protect,  does  not  regard: — this  realm 

2  The  most  popular  life  of  the  Buddha  in  Siamese  is  called  Pa:thomma  Som- 
phothiyan,  translated  by  Alabaster  in  The  Wheel  of  the  Law.    But  like  the  Lalita 
vistara  and  other  Indian  lives  on  which  it  is  modelled  it  stops  short  at  the  enlighten- 

xxxvii]  SIAM  99 

the  king  of  Siam  with  the  relics  found  in  the  Piprava  vase,  the 
gift  though  received  with  honour,  aroused  little  enthusiasm 
and  was  placed  in  a  somewhat  secluded  shrine1. 

ment.  Another  well-known  religious  book  is  the  Traiphum  (=Tribhumi),  an 
account  of  the  universe  according  to  Hindu  principles,  compiled  in  1776  from  various 
ancient  works. 

The  Pali  literature  of  Siam  is  not  very  large.  Some  account  of  it  is  given  by 
Coedes  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1915,  m.  pp.  39-46. 

1  When  in  Bangkok  in  1907  I  saw  in  a  photographer's  shop  a  photograph  of 
the  procession  which  escorted  these  relics  to  their  destination.  It  was  inscribed 
"Arrival  of  Buddha's  tooth  from  Kandy."  This  shows  how  deceptive  historical 
evidence  may  be.  The  inscription  was  the  testimony  of  an  eye -witness  and  yet  it 
was  entirely  wrong. 


THE  French  Protectorate  of  Camboja  corresponds  roughly  to 
the  nucleus,  though  by  no  means  to  the  whole  extent  of  the 
former  Empire  of  the  Khmers.  The  affinities  of  this  race  have 
given  rise  to  considerable  discussion  and  it  has  been  proposed 
to  connect  them  with  the  Munda  tribes  of  India  on  one  side 
and  with  the  Malays  and  Polynesians  on  the  other2.  They  are 
allied  linguistically  to  the  Mons  or  Talaings  of  Lower  Burma 
and  to  the  Khasias  of  Assam,  but  it  is  not  proved  that  they  are 
similarly  related  to  the  Annamites,  and  recent  investigators  are 
not  disposed  to  maintain  the  Mon-Annam  family  of  languages 

1  See  among  other  authorities : 

(a)  E.  Aymonier,  Le  Cambodge,  Paris,  3  vols.  1900,  1904  (cited  as  Aymonier). 
(6)  A.  Barth,  Inscriptions  Sanscrites  du  Cambodge  (Notices  et  extraits  des  MSS. 
de  la  Bibliot.  Nat.),  Paris,  1885  (cited  as  Corpus,  i.). 

(c)  A.  Bergaigne,  Inscriptions  Sanscrites  de  Campd  et  du  Cambodge  (in  same 

series),  1893  (cited  as  Corpus,  11.). 

(d)  L.  Finot,  " Buddhism  in  Indo-China,"  Buddhist  Review,  Oct.  1 909. 

(e)  G.  Maspero,  L' Empire  Khmer,  Phnom  Penh,  1904  (cited  as  Maspero). 
(/)P.  Pelliot,  "Memoires  sur  les  Coutumes  de  Cambodge  par  Tcheou  Ta- 

kouan,  traduits  et  annotes,"  B.E.F.E.O.  1902,  pp.  123-177  (cited  as 

Pelliot,  Tcheou  Ta-kouan). 

(g)  Id.  "Le  Founan,"  B.E.F.E.O.  1903,  pp.  248-303  (cited  as  Pelliot,  Founan). 
(h)  Articles  on  various  inscriptions  by  G.  Coedes  in  J.A.  1908,  xi.  p.  203,  xn. 

p.  213;  1909,  xm.  p.  467  and  p.  511. 

(i)   Bulletin  de  la  Commission  Archeologique  de  VIndochine,  1908  onwards. 
(j)  Le  Bayon  d' Angkor  Thorn,  Mission  Henri  Dufour,  1910-1914. 

Besides  the  articles  cited  above  the  Bulletin  de  Vtfcole  Francaise  d'Ex- 

treme  Orient  (quoted  as  B.E.F.E.O.)  contains  many  others  dealing 

with  the  religion  and  archaeology  of  Camboja. 
(k)  L.  Finot,  Notes  d'fipigraphie  Indo-Chinoise,  1916. 

See  for  literature  up  to  1909,  G.  Coedes,  Bibliotheque  raisonnee  des 

travaux  relatifs  d  V  Archeologie  du  Cambodge  et  du  Champa.    Paris, 

Imprimerie  Nationale,  1909. 

2  See   especially   P.    W.    Schmitt,   Die   Mon-Khmer    Volker.     Ein   Bindeglied 
zwischen  Volkern  Zentral-Asiens  und  Austronesiens.   Braunschweig,  1906. 

CH.  xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  101 

proposed  by  Logan  and  others.  But  the  undoubted  similarity 
of  the  Mon  and  Khmer  languages  suggests  that  the  ancestors  of 
those  who  now  speak  them  were  at  one  time  spread  over  the 
central  and  western  parts  of  Indo-China  but  were  subsequently 
divided  and  deprived  of  much  territory  by  the  southward 
invasions  of  the  Thais  in  the  middle  ages. 

The  Khmers  also  called  themselves  Kambuja  or  Kamvuja 
and  their  name  for  the  country  is  still  either  Srok  Kampuchea 
or  Srok  Khmer1.  Attempts  have  been  made  to  find  a  Malay 
origin  for  this  name  Kambuja  but  native  tradition  regards  it 
as  a  link  with  India  and  affirms  that  the  race  is  descended  from 
Kambu  Svayambhuva  and  Mera  or  Pera  who  was  given  to  him 
by  Siva  as  wife2.  This  legend  hardly  proves  that  the  Khmer 
people  came  from  India  but  they  undoubtedly  received  thence 
their  civilization,  their  royal  family  and  a  considerable  number 
of  Hindu  immigrants,  so  that  the  mythical  ancestor  of  their 
kings  naturally  came  to  be  regarded  as  the  progenitor  of  the 
race.  The  Chinese  traveller  Chou  Ta-kuan  (1296  A.D.)  says  that 
the  country  known  to  the  Chinese  as  Chen-la  is  called  by  the 
natives  Kan-po-chih  but  that  the  present  dynasty  call  it  Kan- 
p'u-chih  on  the  authority  of  Sanskrit  (Hsi-fan)  works.  The 
origin  of  the  name  Chen-la  is  unknown. 

There  has  been  much  discussion  respecting  the  relation  of 
Chen-la  to  the  older  kingdom  of  Fu-nan  which  is  the  name  given 
by  Chinese  historians  until  the  early  part  of  the  seventh  century 
to  a  state  occupying  the  south-eastern  and  perhaps  central 
portions  of  Indo-China.  It  has  been  argued  that  Chen-la  is 
simply  the  older  name  of  Fu-nan  and  on  the  other  hand  that 
Fu-nan  is  a  wider  designation  including  several  states,  one  of 
which,  Chen-la  or  Camboja,  became  paramount  at  the  expense 
of  the  others3.  But  the  point  seems  unimportant  for  their 

1  Cambodge  is  the  accepted  French  spelling  of  this  country's  name.   In  English 
Kamboja,  Kambodia,  Camboja  and  Cambodia  are  all  found.  The  last  is  the  most 
usual  but  di  is  not  a  good  way  of  representing  the  sound  of  j  as  usually  heard  in 
this  name.   I  have  therefore  preferred  Camboja. 

2  See  the  inscription  of  Bakse,  Camkron,  J.A.  xm.  1909,  pp.  468,  469,  497. 

3  The  Sui  annals  (Pelliot,  Founan,  p.  272)  state  that  "Chen-la  lies  to  the  west 

of  Lin-yi :  it  was  originally  a  vassal  state  of  Fu-nan The  name  of  the  king's 

family  was  Kshatriya:  his  personal  name  was  Citrasena:  his  ancestors  progressively 
acquired  the  sovereignty  of  the  country:  Citrasena  seized  Fu-nan  and  reduced  it 
to  submission."  This  seems  perfectly  clear  and  we  know  from  Cambojan  inscrip 
tions    that    Citrasena    was    the    personal    name    of    the    king   who    reigned    as 


religious  history  with  which  we  have  to  deal.  In  religion  and 
general  civilization  both  were  subject  to  Indian  influence  and 
it  is  not  recorded  that  the  political  circumstances  which  turned 
Fu-nan  into  Chen-la  were  attended  by  any  religious  revolution. 
The  most  important  fact  in  the  history  of  these  countries, 
as  in  Champa  and  Java,  is  the  presence  from  early  times  of 
Indian  influence  as  a  result  of  commerce,  colonization,  or  con 
quest.  Orientalists  have  only  recently  freed  themselves  from 
the  idea  that  the  ancient  Hindus,  and  especially  their  religion, 
were  restricted  to  the  limits  of  India.  In  mediaeval  times  this 
was  true.  Emigration  was  rare  and  it  wras  only  in  the  nineteenth 
century  that  the  travelling  Hindu  became  a  familiar  and  in 
some  British  colonies  not  very  welcome  visitor.  Even  now 
Hindus  of  the  higher  caste  evade  rather  than  deny  the  rule 
which  forbids  them  to  cross  the  ocean1.  But  for  a  long  while 
Hindus  have  frequented  the  coast  of  East  Africa2  and  in  earlier,  c.  600  A.D.  But  it  would  appear  from  the  inscriptions  that  it 
was  his  predecessor  Bhavavarraan  who  made  whatever  change  occurred  in  the 
relations  of  Camboja  to  Fu-nan  and  in  any  case  it  is  not  clear  who  were  the  inhabi 
tants  of  Fu-nan  if  not  Cambojans.  Perhaps  Maspero  is  right  in  suggesting  that 
Fu-nan  was  something  like  imperial  Germany  (p.  25),  "Si  le  roi  de  Baviere  s'emparait 
de  la  couronne  imperiale,  rien  ne  serait  change  en  Allemagne  que  la  famille  regnante." 

1  It  is  remarkable  that  the  Baudhayana-dharma-sutra  enumerates  going  to  sea 
among  the  customs  peculiar  to  the  North  (i.  1,  2,  4)  and  thei.  (n.  1,  2,  2)  classes 
making  voyages  by  sea  as  the  first  of  the  offences  which  cause  loss  of  caste.  This 
seems  to  indicate  that  the  emigrants  from  India  came  mainly  from  the  North,  but 
it  would  be  rash  to  conclude  that  in  times  of  stress  or  enthusiasm  the  Southerners 
did  not  follow  their  practice.  A  passage  in  the  second  chapter  of  the  Kautiliya 
Arthasastra  has  been  interpreted  as  referring  to  the  despatch  of  colonists  to  foreign 
countries,  but  it  probably  contemplates  nothing  more  than  the  transfer  of  popula 
tion  from  one  part  of  India  to  another.  See  Finot,  B.E.F.E.O.  1912,  No.  8.  But 
the  passage  at  any  rate  shows  that  the  idea  of  the  King  being  able  to  transport  a 
considerable  mass  of  population  was  familiar  in  ancient  India.  Jataka  466  con 
tains  a  curious  story  of  a  village  of  carpenters  who  being  unsuccessful  in  trade 
built  a  ship  and  emigrated  to  an  island  in  the  ocean.  It  is  clear  that  there  must 
have  been  a  considerable  seafaring  population  in  India  in  early  times  for  the  Rig 
Veda  (ii.  48,  3;  I.  56,  2;  I.  116,  3),  the  Mahabharata  and  the  Jatakas  allude  to  the 
love  of  gain  which  sends  merchants  across  the  sea  and  to  shipwrecks.  Sculptures 
at  Salsette  ascribed  to  about  150  A.D.  represent  a  shipwreck.  Ships  were  depicted 
in  the  paintings  of  Ajanta  and  also  occur  on  the  coins  of  the  Andhra  King  Yajuasri 
(c.  200  A.D.)  and  in  the  sculptures  of  Boroboedoer.  The  Digha  Nikaya  (xi.  85) 
speaks  of  sea-going  ships  which  when  lost  let  loose  a  land  sighting  bird.  Much 
information  is  collected  in  Radhakumud  Mookerji's  History  of  Indian  Shipping, 

a  Voyages  are  still  regularly  made  in  dhows  between  the  west  coast  of  India  and 
Zanzibar  or  Mombasa  and  the  trade  appears  to  be  old. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  103 

centuries  their  traders,  soldiers  and  missionaries  covered  con 
siderable  distances  by  sea.  The  Jatakas *  mention  voyages  to 
Babylon:  Vijaya  and  Mahinda  reached  Ceylon  in  the  fifth  and 
third  centuries  B.C.  respectively.  There  is  no  certain  evidence 
as  to  the  epoch  when  Hindus  first  penetrated  beyond  the  Malay 
peninsula,  but  Java  is  mentioned  in  the  Ramayana2 :  the  earliest 
Sanskrit  inscriptions  of  Champa  date  from  our  third  or  perhaps 
second  century,  and  the  Chinese  Annals  of  the  Tsin  indicate 
that  at  a  period  considerably  anterior  to  that  dynasty  there 
were  Hindus  in  Fu-nan3.  It  is  therefore  safe  to  conclude  that 
they  must  have  reached  ,these  regions  about  the  beginning  of 
the  Christian  era  and,  should  any  evidence  be  forthcoming, 
there  is  no  reason  why  this  date  should  not  be  put  further  back. 
At  present  we  can  only  say  that  the  establishment  of  Hindu 
kingdoms  probably  implies  earlier  visits  of  Hindu  traders  and 
that  voyages  to  the  south  coast  of  Indo-China  and  the  Archi 
pelago  were  probably  preceded  by  settlements  on  the  Isthmus 
of  Kra,  for  instance  at  Ligor. 

The  motives  which  prompted  this  eastward  movement  have 
been  variously  connected  with  religious  persecution  in  India, 
missionary  enterprise,  commerce  and  political  adventure.  The 
first  is  the  least  probable.  There  is  little  evidence  for  the  sys 
tematic  persecution  of  Buddhists  in  India  and  still  less  for  the 
persecution  of  Brahmans  by  Buddhists.  Nor  can  these  Indian 
settlements  be  regarded  as  primarily  religious  missions.  The 
Brahmans  have  always  been  willing  to  follow  and  supervise  the 
progress  of  Hindu  civilization,  but  they  have  never  shown  any 
disposition  to  evangelize  foreign  countries  apart  from  Hindu 
settlements  in  them.  The  Buddhists  had  this  evangelistic  temper 
and  the  journeys  of  their  missionaries  doubtless  stimulated 
other  classes  to  go  abroad,  but  still  no  inscriptions  or  annals 
suggest  that  the  Hindu  migrations  to  Java  and  Camboja  were 
parallel  to  Mahinda' s  mission  to  Ceylon.  Nor  is  there  any 
reason  to  think  that  they  were  commanded  or  encouraged  by 

1  See  Jataka  339  for  the  voyage  to  Baveru  or  Babylon.    Jatakas  360  and  442 
mention  voyages  to  Suvannabhumi  or  Lower  Burma  from  Bharukaccha  and  from 
Benares  down  the  river.  The  Milinda  Panha  (vi.  21)  alludes  to  traffic  with  China 
by  sea. 

2  Ram.  iv.  40,  30. 

3  Pelliot,  Founan,  p.  254.  The  Western  and  Eastern  Tsin  reigned  from  265  to 
419  A.D. 


Indian  Rajas,  for  no  mention  of  their  despatch  has  been  found 
in  India,  and  no  Indian  state  is  recorded  to  have  claimed 
suzerainty  over  these  colonies.  It  therefore  seems  likely  that 
they  were  founded  by  traders  and  also  by  adventurers  who 
followed  existing  trade  routes  and  had  their  own  reasons  for 
leaving  India.  In  a  country  where  dynastic  quarrels  were  fre 
quent  and  the  younger  sons  of  Rajas  had  a  precarious  tenure  of 
life,  such  reasons  can  be  easily  imagined.  In  Camboja  we  find 
an  Indian  dynasty  established  after  a  short  struggle,  but  in 
other  countries,  such  as  Java  and  Sumatra,  Indian  civilization 
endured  because  it  was  freely  adopted  by  native  chiefs  and  not 
because  it  was  forced  on  them  as  a  result  of  conquest. 

The  inscriptions  discovered  in  Camboja  and  deciphered  by 
the  labours  of  French  savants  offer  with  one  lacuna  (about 
650-800  A.D.)  a  fairly  continuous  history  of  the  country  from 
the  sixth  to  the  thirteenth  centuries.  For  earlier  periods  we 
depend  almost  entirely  on  Chinese  accounts  which  are  frag 
mentary  and  not  interested  in  anything  but  the  occasional  rela 
tions  of  China  with  Fu-nan.  The  annals  of  the  Tsin  dynasty1 
already  cited  say  that  from  265  A.D.  onwards  the  kings  of  Fu-nan 
sent  several  embassies  to  the  Chinese  Court,  adding  that  the 
people  have  books  and  that  their  writing  resembles  that  of  the 
Hu.  The  Hu  are  properly  speaking  a  tribe  of  Central  Asia,  but 
the  expression  doubtless  means  no  more  than  alphabetic  writing 
as  opposed  to  Chinese  characters  and  such  an  alphabet  can 
hardly  have  had  other  than  an  Indian  origin.  Originally,  adds 
the  Annalist,  the  sovereign  was  a  woman,  but  there  came  a 
stranger  called  Hun-Hui  who  worshipped  the  Devas  and  had 
had  a  dream  in  which  one  of  them  gave  him  a  bow2  and  ordered 
him  to  sail  for  Fu-nan.  He  conquered  the  country  and  married 
the  Queen  but  his  descendants  deteriorated  and  one  Fan-Hsiin 
founded  another  dynasty.  The  annals  of  the  Ch'i  dynasty 
(479-501)  give  substantially  the  same  story  but  say  that  the 
stranger  was  called  Hun-T'ien  (which  is  probably  the  correct 
form  of  the  name)  and  that  he  came  from  Chi  or  Chiao,  an 
unknown  locality.  The  same  annals  state  that  towards  the  end 

1  Pelliot,  Founan,  p.  254.    Most  of  the  references  to  Chinese  annals  are  taken 
from  this  valuable  paper. 

2  The  inscription  of  Mi-son  relates  how  Kaundinya  planted  at  Bharapura  ( ?  in 
Camboja)  a  javelin  given  to  him  by  Asvatthaman. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  105 

of  the  fifth  century  the  king  of  Fu-nan  who  bore  the  family 
name  of  Ch'iao-ch'en-ju1  or  Kaundinya  and  the  personal  name 
of  She-yeh-po-mo  (Jayavarman)  traded  with  Canton.  A  Bud 
dhist  monk  named  Nagasena  returned  thence  with  some  Cam- 
bo  j  an  merchants  and  so  impressed  this  king  with  his  account  of 
China  that  he  was  sent  back  in  484  to  beg  for  the  protection  of 
the  Emperor.  The  king's  petition  and  a  supplementary  paper 
by  Nagasena  are  preserved  in  the  annals.  They  seem  to  be  an 
attempt  to  represent  the  country  as  Buddhist,  while  explaining 
that  Mahesvara  is  its  tutelary  deity. 

The  Liang  annals  also  state  that  during  the  Wu  dynasty 
(222-280)  Fan  Chan,  then  king  of  Fu-nan,  sent  a  relative 
named  Su-Wu  on  an  embassy  to  India,  to  a  king  called  Mao-lun, 
which  probably  represents  Murunda,  a  people  of  the  Ganges 
valley  mentioned  by  the  Puranas  and  by  Ptolemy.  This  king 
despatched  a  return  embassy  to  Fu-nan  and  his  ambassadors 
met  there  an  official  sent  by  the  Emperor  of  China2.  The  early 
date  ascribed  to  these  events  is  noticeable. 

The  Liang  annals  contain  also  the  following  statements. 
Between  the  years  357  and  424  A.D.  named  as  the  dates  of 
embassies  sent  to  China,  an  Indian  Brahman  called  Ch'iao- 
ch'en-ju  (Kaundinya)  heard  a  supernatural  voice  bidding  him 
go  and  reign  in  Fu-nan.  He  met  with  a  good  reception  and  was 
elected  king.  He  changed  the  customs  of  the  country  and  made 
them  conform  to  those  of  India.  One  of  his  successors,  Jayavar 
man,  sent  a  coral  image  of  Buddha  in  503  to  the  Emperor 
Wu-ti  (502-550).  The  inhabitants  of  Fu-nan  are  said  to  make 
bronze  images  of  the  heavenly  genii  with  two  or  four  heads 
and  four  or  eight  arms.  Jayavarman  was  succeeded  by  a 
usurper  named  Liu-t'o-pa-mo  (Rudravarman)  who  sent  an 
image  made  of  sandal  wood  to  the  Emperor  in  519  and  in  539 
offered  him  a  hair  of  the  Buddha  twelve  feet  long.  The  Sui 
annals  (589-618)  state  that  Citrasena,  king  of  Chen-la,  con 
quered  Fu-nan  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son  Isanasena. 

Two  monks  of  Fu-nan  are  mentioned  among  the  translators 
of  the  Chinese  scriptures3,  namely,  Sarighapala  and  Mandra. 

1  This  is  the  modern  reading  of  the  characters  in  Peking,  but  Julien's  Methode 
justifies  the  transcription  Kau-di-nya. 

2  See  S.  Levi  in  Melanges  Charles  de  Harlez,  p.  176.  Deux  peuples  meconnus. 
i.  Les  Murundas.  3  Nanjio  Catalogue)  p.  422. 


Both  arrived  in  China  during  the  first  years  of  the  sixth  century 
and  their  works  are  extant.  The  pilgrim  I-Ching  who  returned 
from  India  in  695  says1  that  to  the  S.W.  of  Champa  lies  the 
country  Po-nan,  formerly  called  Fu-nan,  which  is  the  southern 
corner  of  Jambudvipa.  He  says  that  "of  old  it  was  a  country 
the  inhabitants  of  which  lived  naked;  the  people  were  mostly 
worshippers  of  devas  and  later  on  Buddhism  flourished  there, 
but  a  wicked  king  has  now  expelled  and  exterminated  them  all 
and  there  are  no  members  of  the  Buddhist  brotherhood  at  all." 

These  data  from  Chinese  authorities  are  on  the  whole  con 
firmed  by  the  Cambojan  inscriptions.  Rudravarman  is  men 
tioned2  and  the  kings  claim  to  belong  to  the  race  of  Kaundinya3. 
This  is  the  name  of  a  Brahman  gotra,  but  such  designations 
were  often  borne  by  Kshatriyas  and  the  conqueror  of  Camboja 
probably  belonged  to  that  caste.  It  may  be  affirmed  with  some 
certainty  that  he  started  from  south-eastern  India  and  possibly 
he  sailed  from  Mahabalipur  (also  called  the  Seven  Pagodas). 
Masulipatam  was  also  a  port  of  embarcation  for  the  East  and  was 
connected  with  Broach  by  a  trade  route  running  through  Tagara, 
now  Ter  in  the  Nizam's  dominions.  By  using  this  road,  it  was 
possible  to  avoid  the  west  coast,  which  was  infested  by  pirates. 

The  earliest  Cambojan  inscriptions  date  from  the  beginning 
of  the  seventh  century  and  are  written  in  an  alphabet  closely 
resembling  that  of  the  inscriptions  in  the  temple  of  Papanatha 
at  Pattadkal  in  the  Bijapur  district4.  They  are  composed  in 

1  I-Tsing,  trans.  Takakusu,  p.  12.  2  Corpus,  I.  p.  65. 

3  Carpus,  i.  pp.  84,  89,  90,  and  Jour.  Asiatique,  1882,  p.  152. 

4  When  visiting  Badami,  Pattadkal  and  Aihole  in  1912  I  noted  the  folio  wing 
resemblances  between  the  temples  of  that  district  and  those  of  Camboja.    (a)  The 
chief  figures  are  Harihara,  Vamana  and  Nrisimha.    At  Pattadkal,  as  at  Angkor 
Wat,  the  reliefs  on  the  temple  wall  represent  the  Churning  of  the  Sea  and  scenes 
from  the  Ramayana.    (b)  Large  blocks  of  stone  were  used  for  building  and  after 
being  put  in  their  positions  were  carved  in  situ,  as  is  shown  by  unfinished  work  in 
places,   (c)  Medallions  containing  faces  are  frequent,   (d)  The  architectural  scheme 
is  not  as  in  Dravidian  temples,  that  is  to  say  larger  outside  and  becoming  smaller 
as  one  proceeds  towards  the  interior.  There  is  generally  a  central  tower  attached 
to  a  hall,    (e)  The  temples  are  often  raised  on  a  basement.    (/)  Mukhalingas  and 
koshas  are  still  used  in  worship,    (g)  There  are  verandahs  resembling  those  at 
Angkor  Wat.  They  have  sloping  stone  roofs,  sculptures  in  relief  on  the  inside  wall 
and  a  series  of  windows  in  the  outside  wall,   (h)  The  doors  of  the  Linga  shrines  have 
a  serpentine  ornamentation  and  are  very  like  those  of  the  Bayon.    (i)  A  native 
gentleman  told  me  that  he  had  seen  temples  with  five  towers  in  this  neighbourhood, 
but  I  have  not  seen  them  myself. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  107 

Sanskrit  verse  of  a  somewhat  exuberant  style,  which  revels  in 
the  commonplaces  of  Indian  poetry.  The  deities  most  frequently 
mentioned  are  Siva  by  himself  and  Siva  united  with  Vishnu  in 
the  form  Hari-Hara.  The  names  of  the  kings  end  in  Varman 
and  this  termination  is  also  specially  frequent  in  names  of  the 
Pallava  dynasty1.  The  magnificent  monuments  still  extant 
attest  a  taste  for  architecture  on  a  large  scale  similar  to  that 
found  among  the  Dravidians.  These  and  many  other  indications 
justify  the  conclusion  that  the  Indian  civilization  and  religion 
which  became  predominant  in  Camboja  were  imported  from  the 

The  Chinese  accounts  distinctly  mention  two  invasions,  one 
under  Ch'iao-ch'en-ju  (Kaundinya)  about  400  A.D.  and  one  con 
siderably  anterior  to  265  under  Hun-T'ien.  It  might  be  supposed 
that  this  name  also  represents  Kaundinya  and  that  there  is  a 
confusion  of  dates.  But  the  available  evidence  is  certainly  in 
favour  of  the  establishment  of  Hindu  civilization  in  Fu-nan 
long  before  400  A.D.  and  there  is  nothing  improbable  in  the 
story  of  the  two  invasions  and  even  of  two  Kaundinyas. 
Maspero  suggests  that  the  first  invasion  came  from  Java  and 
formed  part  of  the  same  movement  which  founded  the  kingdom 
of  Champa.  It  is  remarkable  that  an  inscription  in  Sanskrit 
found  on  the  east  coast  of  Borneo  and  apparently  dating  from 
the  fifth  century  mentions  Kundagga  as  the  grandfather  of  the 
reigning  king,  and  the  Liang  annals  say  that  the  king  of  Poli 
(probably  in  Borneo  but  according  to  some  in  Sumatra)  was 
called  Ch'iao-ch'en-ju.  It  seems  likely  that  the  Indian  family  of 
Kaundinya  was  established  somewhere  in  the  South  Seas  (per 
haps  in  Java)  at  an  early  period  and  thence  invaded  various 
countries  at  various  times.  But  Fu-nan  is  a  vague  geographical 
term  and  it  may  be  that  Hun-T'ien  founded  a  Hindu  dynasty 
in  Champa. 

1  E.g.  Mahendravarman,  Narasinhavarman,  Paramesvaravarman,  etc.  It  may 
be  noticed  that  Pattadkal  is  considerably  to  the  N.W.  of  Madras  and  that  the 
Pallavas  are  supposed  to  have  come  from  the  northern  part  of  the  present  Madras 
Presidency.  Though  the  Hindus  who  emigrated  to  Camboja  probably  embarked  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  Madras,  they  may  have  come  from  countries  much  further 
to  the  north.  Yarman  is  recognized  as  a  proper  termination  of  Kshatriya  names, 
but  it  is  remarkable  that  it  is  found  in  all  the  Sanskrit  names  of  Cambojan  kings 
and  is  very  common  in  Pallava  names.  The  name  of  Asvatthaman  figures  in  the 
mythical  genealogies  of  both  the  Pallavas  and  the  kings  of  Champa  or  perhaps  of 
Camboja,  see  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  923. 

E.  in.  8 


It  is  clear  that  during  the  period  of  the  inscriptions  the 
religion  of  Camboja  was  a  mixture  of  Brahmanism  and  Bud 
dhism,  the  only  change  noticeable  being  the  preponderance  of 
one  or  other  element  in  different  centuries.  But  it  would  be 
interesting  to  know  the  value  of  I-Ching's  statement  that 
Buddhism  flourished  in  Fu-naii  in  early  times  and  was  then 
subverted  by  a  wicked  king,  by  whom  Bhavavarman1  may  be 
meant.  Primd  facie  the  statement  is  not  improbable,  for  there 
is  no  reason  why  the  first  immigrants  should  not  have  been 
Buddhists,  but  the  traditions  connecting  these  countries  with 
early  Hinayanist  missionaries  are  vague.  Taranatha2  states 
that  the  disciples  of  Vasubandhu  introduced  Buddhism  into  the 
country  of  Koki  (Indo-China)  but  his  authority  does  not  count 
for  much  in  such  a  matter.  The  statement  of  I-Ching  however 
has  considerable  weight,  especially  as  the  earliest  inscription 
found  in  Champa  (that  of  Vocan)  appears  to  be  inspired  by 

It  may  be  well  to  state  briefly  the  chief  facts  of  Cambojan 
history3  before  considering  the  phases  through  which  religion 
passed.  Until  the  thirteenth  century  our  chief  authorities  are 
the  Sanskrit  and  Khmer  inscriptions,  supplemented  by  notices 
in  the  Chinese  annals..  The  Khmer  inscriptions  are  often  only 
a  translation  or  paraphrase  of  Sanskrit  texts  found  in  the  same 
locality  and,  as  a  rule,  are  more  popular,  having  little  literary 
pretension.  They  frequently  contain  lists  of  donations  or  of 
articles  to  be  supplied  by  the  population  for  the  upkeep  of 
pious  foundations.  After  the  fourteenth  century  we  have  Cam 
bojan  annals  of  dubious  value  and  we  also  find  inscriptions  in 
Pali  or  in  modern  Cambojan.  The  earliest  Sanskrit  inscriptions 
date  from  the  beginning  of  the  seventh  century  and  mention 
works  undertaken  in  604  and  624. 

The  first  important  king  is  Bhavavarman  (c.  500  A.D.),  a 

1  Some  authorities  think  that  Kaundinya  is  meant  by  the  wicked  king,  but  he 
lived  about  300  years  before  I-Ching's  visit  and  the  language  seems  to  refer  to  more 
recent  events.    Although  Bhavavarman  is  not  known  to  have  been  a  religious 
innovator  he  appears  to  have  established  a  new  order  of  things  in  Camboja  and  his 
inscriptions  show  that  he  was  a  zealous  worshipper  of  Siva  and  other  Indian  deities. 
It  would  be  even  more  natural  if  I-Ching  referred  to  Isanavarman  (c.  615)  or  Jaya- 
varman  I  (c.  650),  but  there  is  no  proof  that  these  kings  were  anti-buddhist. 

2  Schiefner,  p.  262.  3  See  Maspero,  U  Empire  Khmer,  pp.  24  ff. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  109 

conqueror  and  probably  a  usurper,  who  extended  his  kingdom 
considerably  towards  the  west.  His  career  of  conquest  was  con 
tinued  by  Mahavarman  (also  called  Citrasena),  by  Isanavarman 
and  by  Jayavarman1.  This  last  prince  was  on  the  throne  in 
667,  but  his  reign  is  followed  by  a  lacuna  of  more  than  a  century. 
Notices  in  the  Chinese  annals,  confirmed  by  the  double  gene 
alogies  given  for  this  period  in  later  inscriptions,  indicate  that 
Camboja  was  divided  for  some  time  into  two  states,  one  littoral 
and  the  other  inland. 

Clear  history  begins  again  with  the  reign  of  Jayavarman  II 
(802-869).  Later  sovereigns  evidently  regard  him  as  the  great 
national  hero  and  he  lives  in  popular  legend  as  the  builder  of  a 
magnificent  palace,  Beng  Mealea,  whose  ruins  still  exist2  and  as 
the  recipient  of  the  sacred  sword  of  Indra  which  is  preserved  at 
Phnom-penh  to  this  day.  We  are  told  that  he  "came  from 
Java,"  which  is  more  likely  to  be  some  locality  in  the  Malay 
Peninsula  or  Laos  than  the  island  of  that  name.  It  is  possible 
that  Jayavarman  was  carried  away  captive  to  this  region  but 
returned  to  found  a  dynasty  independent  of  it3. 

The  ancient  city  of  Angkor  has  probably  done  more  to  make 
Camboja  known  in  Europe  than  any  recent  achievements  of 
the  Khmer  race.  In  the  centre  of  it  stands  the  temple  now  called 
Bayon  and  outside  its  walls  are  many  other  edifices  of  which 
the  majestic  Angkor  Wat  is  the  largest  and  best  preserved. 

1  Perhaps  a  second  Bhavavarman  came  between  these  last  two  kings;  see 
Coedes  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p  691. 

2  See  Mecquenem  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1913,  No.  2. 

3  But  the  captivity  is  only  an  inference  and  not  a  necessary  one.   Finot  suggests 
that  the  ancient  royal  house  of  Fu-nan  may  have  resided  at  Java  and  have  claimed 
suzerain  rights  over  Camboja  which  Jayavarman  somehow  abolished.  The  only 
clear  statements  on  the  question  are  those  in  the  Sdok  Kak  Thorn  inscription, 
Khmer  text  c.  72,  which  tell  us  that  Camboja  had  been  dependent  on  Java  and 
that  Jayavarman  II  instituted  a  special  state  cult  as  a  sign  that  this  dependence 
had  come  to  an  end. 

It  is  true  that  the  Hindu  colonists  of  Camboja  may  have  come  from  the  island 
of  Java,  yet  no  evidence  supports  the  idea  that  Camboja  was  a  dependency  of  the 
island  about  800  A.D.  and  the  inscriptions  of  Champa  seem  to  distinguish  clearly 
between  Yavadvipa  (the  island)  and  the  unknown  country  called  Java.  See  Finot, 
Notes  d'Epig.  pp.  48  and  240.  Hence  it  seems  unlikely  that  the  barbarous  pirates 
(called  the  armies  of  Java)  who  invaded  Champa  in  787  (see  the  inscription  of 
Yang  Tikuh)  were  from  the  island.  The  Siamese  inscription  of  Rama  Khomheng, 
c.  1300  A.D.,  speaks  of  a  place  called  Chava,  which  may  be  Luang  Prabang.  On  the 
other  hand  it  does  not  seem  likely  that  pirates,  expressly  described  as  using  ships, 
would  have  come  from  the  interior. 


King  Indravarman  (877-899)  seems  responsible  for  the  selection 
of  the  site  but  he  merely  commenced  the  construction  of  the 
Bay  on.  The  edifice  was  completed  by  his  son  Yasovarman 
(889-908)  who  also  built  a  town  round  it,  called  Yasodharapura, 
Kambupuri  or  Mahanagara.  Angkor  Thorn  is  the  Cambojan 
translation  of  this  last  name,  Angkor  being  a  corruption  of 
Nokor  (=  Nagara).  Yas"ovarman's  empire  comprised  nearly  all 
Indo-China  between  Burma  and  Champa  and  he  has  been 
identified  with  the  Leper  king  of  Cambojan  legend.  His  suc 
cessors  continued  to  embellish  Angkor  Thorn,  but  Jayavar- 
man  IV  abandoned  it  and  it  was  deserted  for  several  years  until 
Rajendravarman  II  (944-968)  made  it  the  capital  again.  The 
Chinese  Annals,  supported  by  allusions  in  the  inscriptions,  state 
that  this  prince  conquered  Champa.  The  long  reigns  of  Jayavar- 
man  V,  Suryavarman  I,  and  Udayadityavarman,  which  cover 
more  than  a  century  (968-1079)  seem  to  mark  a  prosperous 
period  when  architecture  flourished,  although  Udayadityavar 
man  had  to  contend  with  two  rebellions.  Another  great  king, 
Suryavarman  II  (1112-1162)  followed  shortly  after  them,  and 
for  a  time  succeeded  in  uniting  Camboja  and  Champa  under  his 
sway.  Some  authorities  credit  him  with  a  successful  expedition 
to  Ceylon.  There  is  not  sufficient  evidence  for  this,  but  he  was 
a  great  prince  and,  in  spite  of  his  foreign  wars,  maintained 
peace  and  order  at  home. 

Jayavarman  VII,  who  appears  to  have  reigned  from  1162 
to  1201,  reduced  to  obedience  his  unruly  vassals  of  the  north 
and  successfully  invaded  Champa  which  remained  for  thirty 
years,  though  not  without  rebellion,  the  vassal  of  Camboja.  It 
was  evacuated  by  his  successor  Indravarman  in  1220. 

After  this  date  there  is  again  a  gap  of  more  than  a  century 
in  Cambojan  history,  and  when  the  sequence  of  events  becomes 
clear  again,  we  find  that  Siam  has  grown  to  be  a  dangerous  and 
aggressive  enemy.  But  though  the  vigour  of  the  kingdom  may 
have  declined,  the  account  of  the  Chinese  traveller  Chou  Ta-kuan 
who  visited  Angkor  Thorn  in  1296  shows  that  it  was  not  in  a 
state  of  anarchy  nor  conquered  by  Siam.  There  had  however 
been  a  recent  war  with  Siam  and  he  mentions  that  the  country 
was  devastated.  He  unfortunately  does  not  tell  us  the  name  of 
the  reigning  king  and  the  list  of  sovereigns  begins  again  only  in 
1340  when  the  Annals  of  Camboja  take  up  the  history.  They 

xxxvni]  CAMBOJA  111 

are  not  of  great  value.  The  custom  of  recording  all  events  of 
importance  prevailed  at  the  Cambojan  Court  in  earlier  times 
but  these  chronicles  were  lost  in  the  eighteenth  century.  King 
Ang  Chan  (1796-1834)  ordered  that  they  should  be  re-written 
with  the  aid  of  the  Siamese  chronicles  and  such  other  materials 
as  were  available  and  fixed  1340  as  the  point  of  departure, 
apparently  because  the  Siamese  chronicles  start  from  that 
date1.  Although  the  period  of  the  annals  offers  little  but  a 
narrative  of  dissensions  at  home  and  abroad,  of  the  interference 
of  Annam  on  one  side  and  of  Siam  on  the  other,  yet  it  does  not 
seem  that  the  sudden  cessation  of  inscriptions  and  of  the  ancient 
style  of  architecture  in  the  thirteenth  century  was  due  to  the 
collapse  of  Camboja,  for  even  in  the  sixteenth  century  it  offered 
a  valiant,  and  often  successful,  resistance  to  aggressions  from 
the  west.  But  Angkor  Thorn  and  the  principal  monuments 
were  situated  near  the  Siamese  frontier  and  felt  the  shock  of 
every  collision.  The  sense  of  security,  essential  for  the  con 
struction  of  great  architectural  works,  had  disappeared  and  the 
population  became  less  submissive  and  less  willing  to  supply 
forced  labour  without  which  such  monuments  could  not  be 

The  Siamese  captured  Angkor  Thorn  in  1313,  1351  and  1420 
but  did  not  on  any  occasion  hold  it  for  long.  Again  in  1473 
they  occupied  Chant aboun,  Korat  and  Angkor  but  had  to 
retire  and  conclude  peace.  King  Ang  Chan  I  successfully  dis 
puted  the  right  of  Siam  to  treat  him  as  a  vassal  and  established 
his  capital  at  Lovek,  which  he  fortified  and  ornamented.  He 
reigned  from  1505  to  1555  and  both  he  and  his  son,  Barom 
Racha,  seem  entitled  to  rank  among  the  great  kings  of  Camboja. 
But  the  situation  was  clearly  precarious  and  when  a  minor  suc 
ceeded  to  the  throne  in  1574  the  Siamese  seized  the  opportunity 
and  recaptured  Lovek  and  Chantaboun.  Though  this  capture 
was  the  death  blow  to  the  power  of  the  Khmers,  the  kingdom 
of  Camboja  did  not  cease  to  exist  but  for  nearly  three  centuries 
continued  to  have  an  eventful  but  uninteresting  history  as  the 

1  For  these  annals  see  F.  Gamier,  "La  Chronique  royale  du  Cambodje,"  J.A. 
1871  and  1872.  A.  de  Villemereuil,  Explorations  et  Missions  de  Doudard  de 
Lagree,  1882.  J.  Moura,  Le  Royaume  de  Cambodje,  vol.  n.  1883.  E.  Aymonier, 
Chronique  des  Anciens  rois  du  Cambodje.  (Excursions  et  reconnaissances.  Saigon, 


vassal  of  Siam  or  Annam  or  even  of  both1,  until  in  the  middle 
of  the  nineteenth  century  the  intervention  of  France  substituted 
a  European  Protectorate  for  these  Asiatic  rivalries. 

The  provinces  of  Siem-reap  and  Battambang,  in  which 
Angkor  Thorn  and  the  principal  ancient  monuments  are  situated, 
were  annexed  by  Siam  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century, 
but  in  virtue  of  an  arrangement  negotiated  by  the  French 
Government  they  were  restored  to  Camboja  in  1907,  Krat 
and  certain  territories  being  at  the  same  time  ceded  to  Siam2. 

The  religious  history  of  Camboja  may  be  divided  into  two 
periods,  exclusive  of  the  possible  existence  there  of  Hinayanist 
Buddhism  in  the  early  centuries  of  our  era.  In  the  first  period, 
which  witnessed  the  construction  of  the  great  monuments  and 
the  reigns  of  the  great  kings,  both  Brahmanism  and  Mahayanist 
Buddhism  flourished,  but  as  in  Java  and  Champa  without 
mutual  hostility.  This  period  extends  certainly  from  the  sixth 
to  the  thirteenth  centuries  and  perhaps  its  limits  should  be 
stretched  to  400-1400  A.D.  In  any  case  it  passed  without  abrupt 
transition  into  the  second  period  in  which,  under  Siamese 
influence,  Hinayanist  Buddhism  supplanted  the  older  faiths, 
although  the  ceremonies  of  the  Cambojan  court  still  preserve  a 
good  deal  of  Brahmanic  ritual. 

During  the  first  period,  Brahmanism  and  Mahay anism  were 
professed  by  the  Court  and  nobility.  The  multitude  of  great 
temples  and  opulent  endowments,  the  knowledge  of  Sanskrit 
literature  and  the  use  of  Indian  names,  leave  no  doubt  about 
this,  but  it  is  highly  probable  that  the  mass  of  the  people  had 
their  own  humbler  forms  of  worship.  Still  there  is  no  record  of 
anything  that  can  be  called  Khmer — as  opposed  to  Indian — 
religion.  As  in  Siam,  the  veneration  of  nature  spirits  is  universal 
in  Camboja  and  little  shrines  elevated  on  poles  are  erected  in 
their  honour  in  the  neighbourhood  of  almost  every  house. 

1  E.g.  Ang  Chan  (1796-1834)  received  his  crown  from  the  King  of  Siam  and 
paid  tribute  to  the  King  of  Annam;  Ang  Duong  (1846-1859)  was  crowned  by 
representatives  of  Annam  and  Siam  and  his  territory  was  occupied  by  the  troops 
of  both  countries. 

2  The  later  history  of  Camboja  is  treated  in  considerable  detail  by  A.  Leclerc, 
Histoire  de  Cambodge,  1914. 

xxxvm]  CAMEOJA  113 

Possibly  the  more  important  of  these  spirits  were  identified  in 
early  times  with  Indian  deities  or  received  Sanskrit  names. 
Thus  we  hear  of  a  pious  foundation  in  honour  of  Brahmarak- 
shas1,  perhaps  a  local  mountain  spirit.  Siva  is  adored  under 
the  name  of  Sri  Sikharesvara,  the  Lord  of  the  Peak  and  Krishna 
appears  to  be  identified  with  a  local  god  called  Sri  Champesvara 
who  was  worshipped  by  Jayavarman  VI2. 

The  practice  of  accepting  and  hinduizing  strange  gods  with 
whom  they  came  in  contact  was  so  familiar  to  the  Brahmans 
that  it  would  be  odd  if  no  examples  of  it  occurred  in  Camboja. 
Still  the  Brahmanic  religion  which  has  left  such  clear  records 
there  was  in  the  main  not  a  hinduized  form  of  any  local  cult 
but  a  direct  importation  of  Indian  thought,  ritual  and  literature. 
The  Indian  invaders  or  colonists  were  accompanied  by  Brah 
mans:  their  descendants  continued  to  bear  Indian  names  and 
to  give  them  to  all  places  of  importance:  Sanskrit  was  the 
ecclesiastical  and  official  language,  for  the  inscriptions  written 
in  Khmer  are  clearly  half-contemptuous  notifications  to  the 
common  people,  respecting  such  details  as  specially  concerned 
them:  ASramas  and  castes  (varna)  are  mentioned3  and  it  is 
probable  that  natives  were  only  gradually  and  grudgingly  ad 
mitted  to  the  higher  castes.  There  is  also  reason  to  believe  that 
this  Hindu  civilization  was  from  time  to  time  vivified  by  direct 
contact  with  India.  The  embassy  of  Su-Wu  has  already  been 
mentioned4  and  an  inscription  records  the  marriage  of  a  Cam- 
bo  j  an  princess  with  a  Brahman  called  Divakara  who  came  from 
the  banks  of  the  Yamuna,  "where  Krishna  sported  in  his 

During  the  whole  period  of  the  inscriptions  the  worship  of 
Siva  seems  to  have  been  the  principal  cultus  and  to  some  extent 
the  state  religion,  for  even  kings  who  express  themselves  in 
their  inscriptions  as  devout  Buddhists  do  not  fail  to  invoke 
him.  But  there  is  no  trace  of  hostility  to  Vishnuism  and  the 
earlier  inscriptions  constantly  celebrate  the  praises  of  the 
compound  deity  Vishnu-Siva,  known  under  such  names  as 

1  Inscrip.  of  Moroun,  Corpus,  n.  387. 

2  Other  local  deities  may  be  alluded  to,  under  the  names  of  Sri  Jayakshetra, 
"the  field  of  victory"  adored  at  Basset  Simadamataka,  Sri  Mandaresvara,  and 
£ri  Jalangesvara.   Aymonier,  n.  p.  297;  I.  pp.  305,  306  and  327. 

5  Inscrip.  of  Lovek. 

4  Prea  Eynkosey,  970  A.D.   See  Corpus,  I.  pp.  77  ff. 


Hari-Hara1,  Sambhu-Vishnu,  Sarikara-Narayana,  etc.  Thus  an 
inscription  of  Ang-Pou  dating  from  Isanavarman's  reign  says 
''Victorious  are  Hara  and  Acyuta  become  one  for  the  good  of 
the  world,  though  as  the  spouses  of  Parvati  and  Sri  they  have 
different  forms2."  But  the  worship  of  this  double  being  is 
accompanied  by  pure  Sivaism  and  by  the  adoration  of  other 
deities.  In  the  earliest  inscriptions  Bhavavarman  invokes  Siva 
and  dedicates  a  linga.  He  also  celebrates  the  compound  deity 
under  the  name  of  Sambhu-Vishnu  and  mentions  Uma,  Lak- 
shmi,  Bharati,  Dharma,  the  Maruts,  and  Vishnu  under  the 
names  of  Caturbhuja  and  Trailokyasara.  There  appears  to  be  no 
allusion  to  the  worship  of  Vishnu-Siva  as  two  in  one  after  the 
seventh  century,  but  though  Siva  became  exalted  at  the  expense 
of  his  partner,  Vishnu  must  have  had  adorers  for  two  kings, 
Jayavarman  III  and  Suryavarman  II,  were  known  after  their 
death  by  the  names  of  Vishnu-loka  and  Parama- Vishnu-loka. 

Siva  became  generally  recognized  as  the  supreme  deity,  in 
a  comprehensive  but  not  an  exclusive  sense.  He  is  the  universal 
spirit  from  whom  emanate  Brahma  and  Vishnu.  His  character 
as  the  Destroyer  is  not  much  emphasized:  he  is  the  God  of 
change,  and  therefore  of  reproduction,  whose  symbol  is  the 
Linga.  It  is  remarkable  to  find  that  a  pantheistic  form  of 
Sivaism  is  clearly  enunciated  in  one  of  the  earliest  inscriptions3. 
Siva  is  there  styled  Vibhu,  the  omnipresent,  Paramvrahma 
(=  Brahma),  Jagatpati,  Pasupati.  An  inscription  found  at 
Angkor4  mentions  an  Acarya  of  the  Pasupatas  as  well  as  an 
Acarya  of  the  Saivas  and  Chou  Ta-kuan  seems  to  allude  to  the 
worshippers  of  Pasupati  under  the  name  of  Pa-ssu-wei.  It  would 
therefore  appear  that  the  Pasupatas  existed  in  Camboja  as  a 
distinct  sect  and  there  are  some  indications5  that  ideas  which 
prevailed  among  the  Lingayats  also  found  their  way  thither. 

1  This  compound  deity  is  celebrated  in  the  Harivamsa  and  is  represented  in  the 
sculptures  of  the  rock  temple  at  Badami,  which  is  dated  578  A.D.  Thus  his  worship 
may  easily  have  reached  Camboja  in  the  sixth  or  seventh  century. 

2  Jayato  jagatam  bhutyai  Kritasandhi  Haracyutan,  Parvatisripatitvena  Bhin- 
naraurttidharavapi.   See  also  the  Inscrip.  of  Ang  Chumnik  (667  A.D.),  verses  11  and 
12  in  Corpus,  i.  p.  67. 

3  The  Bayang  Inscription,  Corpus,  I.  pp.  31  ff.  which  mentions  the  dates  604  and 
626  as  recent. 

4  Corpus,  n.  p.  422  Saivapasupatacaryyau.    The  inscription  fixes  the  relative 
rank  of  various  Acaryas. 

6  See  B.E.F.E.O.  1906,  p.  70. 




The  most  interesting  and  original  aspect  of  Cambojan 
religion  is  its  connection  with  the  state  and  the  worship  of 
deities  somehow  identified  with  the  king  or  with  prominent 
personages1.  These  features  are  also  found  in  Champa  and  Java. 
In  all  these  countries  it  was  usual  that  when  a  king  founded  a 
temple,  the  god  worshipped  in  it  should  be  called  by  his  name 
or  by  something  like  it.  Thus  when  Bhadravarman  dedicated  a 
temple  to  Siva,  the  god  was  styled  Bhadresvara.  More  than 
this,  when  a  king  or  any  distinguished  person  died,  he  was  com 
memorated  by  a  statue  which  reproduced  his  features  but 
represented  him  with  the  attributes  of  his  favourite  god.  Thus 
Indravarman  and  Yasovarman  dedicated  at  Bako  and  Lolei 
shrines  in  which  deceased  members  of  the  royal  family  were 
commemorated  in  the  form  of  images  of  Siva  and  Devi  bearing 
names  similar  to  their  own.  Another  form  of  apotheosis  was  to 
describe  a  king  by  a  posthumous  title,  indicating  that  he  had 
gone  to  the  heaven  of  his  divine  patron  such  as  Paramavishnu- 
loka  or  Buddhaloka.  The  temple  of  Bayon  was  a  truly  national 
fane,  almost  a  Westminster  abbey,  in  whose  many  shrines  all 
the  gods  and  great  men  of  the  country  were  commemorated. 
The  French  archaeologists  recognize  four  classes  of  these  shrines 
dedicated  respectively  to  (a)  Indian  deities,  mostly  special 
forms  of  Siva,  Devi  and  Vishnu;  (6)  Mahayanist  Buddhas, 
especially  Buddhas  of  healing,  who  were  regarded  as  the  patron 
saints  of  various  towns  and  mountains ;  (c)  similar  local  deities 
apparently  of  Cambojan  origin  and  perhaps  corresponding  to 
the  God  of  the  City  worshipped  in  every  Chinese  town ;  (d)  deified 
kings  and  notables,  who  appear  to  have  been  represented  in 
two  forms,  the  human  and  divine,  bearing  slightly  different 
names.  Thus  one  inscription  speaks  of  Sri  Mahendresvari  who 
is  the  divine  form  (vrah  rupa)  of  the  lady  Sri  Mahendra- 

The  presiding  deity  of  the  Bayon  was  Siva,  adored  under  the 
form  of  the  linga.  The  principal  external  ornaments  of  the 
building  are  forty  towers  each  surmounted  by  four  heads.  These 
were  formerly  thought  to  represent  Brahma  but  there  is  little 
doubt  that  they  are  meant  for  lingas  bearing  four  faces  of  Siva, 

1  See  specially  on  this  subject,  Coedes  in  Bull.  Comm.  Archeol  de  VIndochine, 
1911,  p.  38,  and  1913,  p.  81,  and  the  letterpress  of  Le  Bayon  d'Angkor  Thorn, 


since  each  head  has  three  eyes.  Such  lingas  are  occasionally 
seen  in  India1  and  many  metal  cases  bearing  faces  and  made 
to  be  fitted  on  lingas  have  been  discovered  in  Champa.  These 
four-headed  columns  are  found  on  the  gates  of  Angkor  Thorn 
as  well  as  in  the  Bay  on  and  are  singularly  impressive.  The 
emblem  adored  in  the  central  shrine  of  the  Bay  on  was  probably 
a  linga  but  its  title  was  Kamraten  jagat  ta  raja  or  Devardja,  the 
king-god.  More  explicitly  still  it  is  styled  Kamraten  jagat  ta 
rdjya,  the  god  who  is  the  kingdom.  It  typified  and  contained 
the  royal  essence  present  in  the  living  king  of  Camboja  and  in 
all  her  kings.  Several  inscriptions  make  it  clear  that  not  only 
dead  but  living  people  could  be  represented  by  statue-portraits 
which  identified  them  with  a  deity,  and  in  one  very  remarkable 
record  a  general  offers  to  the  king  the  booty  he  has  captured, 
asking  him  to  present  it  "to  your  subtle  ego  who  is  Isvara 
dwelling  in  a  golden  linga2."  Thus  this  subtle  ego  dwells  in  a 
linga,  is  identical  with  Siva,  and  manifests  itself  in  the  successive 
kings  of  the  royal  house. 

The  practices  described  have  some  analogies  in  India.  The 
custom  of  describing  the  god  of  a  temple  by  the  name  of  the 
founder  was  known  there3.  The  veneration  of  ancestors  is 
universal;  there  are  some  mausolea  (for  instance  at  Ahar  near 
Udeypore)  and  the  notion  that  in  life  the  soul  can  reside  else 
where  than  in  the  body  is  an  occasional  popular  superstition. 
Still  these  ideas  and  practices  are  not  conspicuous  features  of 
Hinduism  and  the  Cambojans  had  probably  come  within  the 
sphere  of  another  influence.  In  all  eastern  Asia  the  veneration 
of  the  dead  is  the  fundamental  and  ubiquitous  form  of  religion 
and  in  China  we  find  fully  developed  such  ideas  as  that  the  great 
should  be  buried  in  monumental  tombs,  that  a  spirit  can  be 
made  to  reside  in  a  tablet  or  image,  and  that  the  human  soul  is 
compound  so  that  portions  of  it  can  be  in  different  places. 
These  beliefs  combined  with  the  Indian  doctrine  that  the  deity 

1  I  have  seen  myself  a  stone  lingam  carved  with  four  faces  in  a  tank  belonging 
to  a  temple  at  Mahakut  not  far  from  Badami. 

2  Suvarnamayalingagatesvare  te  sukshmantaratmani.    Inscrip.  of  Prea  Ngouk, 
Corpus,  i.  p.  157. 

3  E.g.  see  Epig.  Indica,  vol.  in.  pp.  1  ff.   At  Pa^tadkal  (which  region  offers  so 
many  points  of  resemblance  to  Camboja)  King  Vijayaditya  founded  a  temple  of 
Vijayesvara  and  two   Queens,  Lokamahadevi  and  Trailokyamahadevi  founded 
temples  of  LokesVara  and  TrailokyesVara. 

xxxvin]  CAMBOJA  1 1 7 

is  manifested  in  incarnations,  in  the  human  soul  and  in  images 
afford  a  good  theoretical  basis  for  the  worship  of  the  Devaraja. 
It  was  also  agreeable  to  far-eastern  ideas  that  religion  and  the 
state  should  be  closely  associated  and  the  Cambojan  kings 
would  be  glad  to  imitate  the  glories  of  the  Son  of  Heaven. 
But  probably  a  simpler  cause  tended  to  unite  church  and  state 
in  all  these  Hindu  colonies.  In  mediaeval  India  the  Brahmans 
became  so  powerful  that  they  could  claim  to  represent  religion 
and  civilization  apart  from  the  state.  But  in  Camboja  and 
Champa  Brahmanic  religion  and  civilization  were  bound  up 
with  the  state.  Both  were  attacked  by  and  ultimately  suc 
cumbed  to  the  same  enemies. 

The  Brahmanism  of  Camboja,  as  we  know  it  from  the 
inscriptions,  was  so  largely  concerned  with  the  worship  of  this 
"Royal  God"  that  it  might  almost  be  considered  a  department 
of  the  court.  It  seems  to  have  been  thought  essential  to  the 
dignity  of  a  Sovereign  who  aspired  to  be  more  than  a  local 
prince,  that  his  Chaplain  or  preceptor  should  have  a  pontifical 
position.  A  curious  parallel  to  this  is  shown  by  those  mediaeval 
princes  of  eastern  Europe  who  claimed  for  their  chief  bishops 
the  title  of  patriarch  as  a  complement  to  their  own  imperial 
pretensions.  In  its  ultimate  form  the  Cambojan  hierarchy  was 
the  work  of  Jayavarman  II,  who,  it  will  be  remembered,  re 
established  the  kingdom  after  an  obscure  but  apparently  dis 
astrous  interregnum.  He  made  the  priesthood  of  the  Royal 
God  hereditary  in  the  family  of  Sivakaivalya  and  the  sacerdotal 
dynasty  thus  founded  enjoyed  during  some  centuries  a  power 
inferior  only  to  that  of  the  kings. 

In  the  inscriptions  of  Sdok  Kak  Thorn1  the  history  of  this 
family  is  traced  from  the  reign  of  Jayavarman  II  to  1052.  The 
beginning  of  the  story  as  related  in  both  the  Sanskrit  and 
Khmer  texts  is  interesting  but  obscure.  It  is  to  the  effect  that 
Jayavarman,  anxious  to  assure  his  position  as  an  Emperor 
(Cakravartin)  independent  of  Java2,  summoned  from  Janapada 
a  Brahman  called  Hiranyadama,  learned  in  magic  (siddhividya), 
who  arranged  the  rules  (viddhi)  for  the  worship  of  the  Royal 
God  and  taught  the  king's  Chaplain,  Sivakaivalya,  four 
treatises  called  Vrah  Vinasikha,  Nayottara,  Sammoha  and 

1  Aymonier,  n.  pp.  257  ff.  and  especially  Finot  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1915,  xv.  2, 
p.  53.  a  See  above. 


Sirascheda.  These  works  are  not  otherwise  known1.  The  king 
made  a  solemn  compact  that  "only  the  members  of  his  (Siva- 
kaivalya's)  maternal2  family,  men  and  women,  should  be 
Yajakas  (sacrificers  or  officiants)  to  the  exclusion  of  all  others." 
The  restriction  refers  no  doubt  only  to  the  cult  of  the  Royal 
God  and  the  office  of  court  chaplain,  called  Purohita,  Guru  or 
Hotri,  of  whom  there  were  at  least  two. 

The  outline  of  this  narrative,  that  a  learned  Brahman  was 
imported  and  charged  with  the  instruction  of  the  royal  chaplain, 
is  simple  and  probable  but  the  details  are  perplexing.  The 
Sanskrit  treatises  mentioned  are  unknown  and  the  names 
singular.  Janapada  as  the  name  of  a  definite  locality  is  also 
strange3,  but  it  is  conceivable  that  the  word  may  have  been 
used  in  Khmer  as  a  designation  of  India  or  a  part  of  it. 

The  inscription  goes  on  to  relate  the  gratifying  history  of 
the  priestly  family,  the  grants  of  land  made  to  them,  the  honours 
they  received.  We  gather  that  it  was  usual  for  an  estate  to  be 
given  to  a  priest  with  the  right  to  claim  forced  labour  from  the 
population.  He  then  proceeded  to  erect  a  town  or  village  em 
bellished  with  temples  and  tanks.  The  hold  of  Brahmanism  on 
the  country  probably  depended  more  on  such  priestly  towns 
than  on  the  convictions  of  the  people.  The  inscriptions  often 
speak  of  religious  establishments  being  restored  and  sometimes 
say  that  they  had  become  deserted  and  overgrown.  We  may 
conclude  that  if  the  Brahman  lords  of  a  village  ceased  for  any 
reason  to  give  it  their  attention,  the  labour  and  contributions 
requisite  for  the  upkeep  of  the  temples  were  not  forthcoming 
and  the  jungle  was  allowed  to  grow  over  the  buildings. 

Numerous  inscriptions  testify  to  the  grandeur  of  the  Siva- 
kaivalya  family.  The  monotonous  lists  of  their  properties  and 
slaves,  of  the  statues  erected  in  their  honour  and  the  number 
of  parasols  borne  before  them  show  that  their  position  was 
almost  regal,  even  when  the  king  was  a  Buddhist.  They  pru 
dently  refrained  from  attempting  to  occupy  the  throne,  but 

1  Sammohana  and  Niruttara  are  given  as  names  of  Tantras.  The  former  word 
may  perhaps  be  the  beginning  of  a  compound.  There  are  Pali  works  called  Sammo- 
havinodini  and  S.  vinasini.   The  inscription  calls  the  four  treatises  the  four  faces  of 

2  This  shows  that  matriarchy  must  have  been  in  force  in  Camboja. 

3  Janapada  as  the  name  of  a  locality  is  cited  by  Bothlingck  and  Roth  from  the 
Gana  to  Panini,  4.  2.  82. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  119 

probably  no  king  could  succeed  unless  consecrated  by  them. 
Sadasiva,  Sankarapandita  and  Divakarapandita  formed  an 
ecclesiastical  dynasty  from  about  1000  to  1100  A.D.  parallel  to 
the  long  reigns  of  the  kings  in  the  same  period1.  The  last-named 
mentions  in  an  inscription  that  he  had  consecrated  three  kings 
and  Sarikarapandita,  a  man  of  great  learning,  was  de  facto 
sovereign  during  the  minority  of  his  pupil  Udayadityavarman 
nor  did  he  lose  his  influence  when  the  young  king  attained  his 

The  shrine  of  the  Royal  God  was  first  near  Mt  Mahendra 
and  was  then  moved  to  Hariharalaya2.  Its  location  was 
definitely  fixed  in  the  reign  of  Indravarman,  about  877  A.D. 
Two  Sivakaivalya  Brahmans,  Sivasoma  and  his  pupil  Vamasiva, 
chaplain  of  the  king,  built  a  temple  called  the  Sivasrama  and 
erected  a  linga  therein.  It  is  agreed  that  this  building  is  the 
Bayon,  which  formed  the  centre  of  the  later  city  of  Angkor. 
Indravarman  also  illustrated  another  characteristic  of  the  court 
religion  by  placing  in  the  temple  now  called  Prah  Kou  three 
statues  of  Siva  with  the  features  of  his  father,  grandfather  and 
Jayavarman  II  together  with  corresponding  statues  of  Sakti  in 
the  likeness  of  their  wives.  The  next  king,  Yasovarman,  who 
founded  the  town  of  Angkor  round  the  Bayon,  built  near  his 
palace  another  linga  temple,  now  known  as  Ba-puon.  He  also 
erected  two  convents,  one  Brahmanic  and  one  Buddhist.  An 
inscription3  gives  several  interesting  particulars  respecting  the 
former.  It  fixes  the  provisions  to  be  supplied  to  priests  and 
students  and  the  honours  to  be  rendered  to  distinguished 
visitors.  The  right  of  sanctuary  is  accorded  and  the  sick  and 
helpless  are  to  receive  food  and  medicine.  Also  funeral  rites 
are  to  be  celebrated  within  its  precincts  for  the  repose  of  the 
friendless  and  those  who  have  died  in  war.  The  royal  residence 
was  moved  from  Angkor  in  928,  but  about  twenty  years  later 
the  court  returned  thither  and  the  inscriptions  record  that  the 
Royal  God  accompanied  it. 

The  cultus  was  probably  similar  to  what  may  be  seen  in  the 

1  Possibly  others  may  have  held  office  during  this  long  period,  but  evidently  all 
three  priests  lived  to  be  very  old  men  and  each  may  have  been  Guru  for  forty  years. 

2  This  place  which  means  merely  "the  abode  of  Hari  and  Kara"  has  not  been 

3  Corpus,  II.  Inscrip.  Ivi.  especially  pp.  248-251. 


Sivaite  temples  of  India  to-day.  The  principal  lingam  was 
placed  in  a  shrine  approached  through  other  chambers  and 
accessible  only  to  privileged  persons.  Libations  were  poured 
over  the  emblem  and  sacred  books  were  recited.  An  interesting 
inscription1  of  about  600  A.D.  relates  how  Srisomasarman  (prob 
ably  a  Brahman)  presented  to  a  temple  "the  Ramayana,  the 
Purana  and  complete  Bharata"  and  made  arrangements  for 
their  recitation.  Sanskrit  literature  was  held  in  esteem.  We  are 
told  that  Suryavarman  I  was  versed  in  the  Atharva-Veda  and 
also  in  the  Bhashya,  Kavyas,  the  six  Darsanas,  and  the  Dhar- 
masastras2.  Sacrifices  are  also  frequently  mentioned  and  one 
inscription  records  the  performance  of  a  Kotihoma3.  The  old 
Vedic  ritual  remained  to  some  extent  in  practice,  for  no  circum 
stances  are  more  favourable  to  its  survival  than  a  wealthy 
court  dominated  by  a  powerful  hierarchy.  Such  ceremonies 
were  probably  performed  in  the  ample  enclosures  surrounding 
the  temples4. 

Mahayanist  Buddhism  existed  in  Camboja  during  the  whole 
of  the  period  covered  by  the  inscriptions,  but  it  remained 
in  such  close  alliance  with  Brahmanism  that  it  is  hard  to  say 
whether  it  should  be  regarded  as  a  separate  religion.  The  idea 
that  the  two  systems  were  incompatible  obviously  never 
occurred  to  the  writers  of  the  inscriptions  and  Buddhism  was 
not  regarded  as  more  distinct  from  Sivaism  and  Vishnuism 
than  these  from  one  another.  It  had  nevertheless  many  fervent 
and  generous,  if  not  exclusive,  admirers.  The  earliest  record  of 
its  existence  is  a  short  inscription  dating  from  the  end  of  the 
sixth  or  beginning  of  the  seventh  century5,  which  relates  how 
a  person  called  Pon  Prajna  Candra  dedicated  male  and  female 
slaves  to  the  three  Bodhisattvas,  Sasta6,  Maitreya  and  Avalo- 

Veal  Kantel,  Corpus,  i.  p.  28. 

Inscr.  of  Prah  Khan,  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  675. 

B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  677. 

Just  as  a  Vedic  sacrifice  was  performed  in  the  court  of  the  temple  of  Chidara- 
bar  m  about  1908. 

Aymonier,  Cambodja,  i.  p.  442. 

6asta  sounds  like  a  title  of  Sakyamuni,  but,  if  Aymonier  is  correct,  the  per- 
sonage  is  described  as  a  Bodhisattva.  There  were  pagoda  slaves  even  in  modern 

xxxvin]  CAMBOJA  121 

kitesvara.  The  title  given  to  the  Bodhisattvas  (Vrah  Kamrata 
an)  which  is  also  borne  by  Indian  deities  shows  that  this  Bud 
dhism  was  not  very  different  from  the  Brahmanic  cult  of  Cam- 
bo  j  a. 

It  is  interesting  to  find  that  Yasovarman  founded  in  Angkor 
Thorn  a  Saugatasrama  or  Buddhist  monastery  parallel  to  his 
Brahmanasrama  already  described.  Its  inmates  enjoyed  the 
same  privileges  and  had  nearly  the  same  rules  and  duties,  being 
bound  to  afford  sanctuary,  maintain  the  destitute  and  perform 
funeral  masses.  It  is  laid  down  that  an  Acarya  versed  in  Bud 
dhist  lore  corresponds  in  rank  to  the  Acaryas  of  the  Saivas  and 
Fasupatas  and  that  in  both  institutions  greater  honour  is  to 
be  shown  to  such  Acaryas  as  also  are  learned  in  grammar.  A 
Buddhist  Acarya  ought  to  be  honoured  a  little  less  than  a 
learned  Brahman.  Even  in  form  the  inscriptions  recording  the 
foundation  of  the  two  Asramas  show  a  remarkable  parallelism. 
Both  begin  with  two  stanzas  addressed  to  Siva:  then  the 
Buddhist  inscription  inserts  a  stanza  in  honour  of  the  Buddha 
who  delivers  from  transmigration  and  gives  nirvana,  and  then 
the  two  texts  are  identical  for  several  stanzas1. 

Mahayanism  appears  to  have  flourished  here  especially 
from  the  tenth  to  the  thirteenth  centuries  and  throughout  the 
greater  part  of  this  period  we  find  the  same  feature  that  its 
principal  devotees  were  not  the  kings  but  their  ministers. 
Suryavarman  I  (f  1049)  and  Jayavarman  VII  (f  1221)  in  some 
sense  deserved  the  name  of  Buddhists  since  the  posthumous 
title  of  the  former  was  Nirvanapada  and  the  latter  left  a  long 
inscription2  beginning  with  a  definitely  Buddhist  invocation. 
Yet  an  inscription  of  Suryavarman  which  states  in  its  second 
verse  that  only  the  word  of  the  Buddha  is  true,  opens  by  singing 
the  praises  of  Siva,  and  Jayavarman  certainly  did  not  neglect 
the  Brahmanic  gods.  But  for  about  a  hundred  years  there  was 
a  series  of  great  ministers  who  specially  encouraged  Buddhism. 
Such  were  Satyavarman  (c.  900  A.D.),  who  was  charged  with 
the  erection  of  the  building  in  Angkor  known  as  Phimeanakas; 
Kavindrarimathana,  minister  under  Rajendravarman  II  and 
Jayavarman  V,  who  erected  many  Buddhist  statues  and 
Kirtipandita,  minister  of  Jayavarman  V.  Kirtipandita  was  the 

1  See  Coedes,  "La  Stele  de  Tep  Pranam,"  in  J.A.  xi.  1908,  p.  203. 

2  Inscrip.  of  Ta  Prohm,  B.E.F.E.O.  1906,  p.  44. 


author1  of  the  inscription  found  at  Srey  Santhor,  which  states 
that  thanks  to  his  efforts  the  pure  doctrine  of  the  Buddha  re 
appeared  like  the  moon  from  behind  the  clouds  or  the  sun  at 

It  may  be  easily  imagined  that  the  power  enjoyed  by  the 
court  chaplain  would  dispose  the  intelligent  classes  to  revolt 
against  this  hierarchy  and  to  favour  liberty  and  variety  in 
religion,  so  far  as  was  safe.  Possibly  the  kings,  while  co-operat 
ing  with  a  priesthood  which  recognized  them  as  semi-divine, 
were  glad  enough  to  let  other  religious  elements  form  some  sort 
of  counterpoise  to  a  priestly  family  which  threatened  to  be 
omnipotent.  Though  the  identification  of  Sivaism  and  Buddhism 
became  so  complete  that  we  actually  find  a  Trinity  composed 
of  Padmodbhava  (Brahma),  Ambhojanetra  (Vishnu)  and  the 
Buddha2,  the  inscriptions  of  the  Buddhist  ministers  are  marked 
by  a  certain  diplomacy  and  self-congratulation  on  the  success 
of  their  efforts,  as  if  they  felt  that  their  position  was  meritorious, 
yet  delicate. 

Thus  in  an  inscription,  the  object  of  which  seems  to  be  to 
record  the  erection  of  a  statue  of  Prajna-paramita  by  Kavin- 
drarimathana  we  are  told  that  the  king  charged  him  with  the 
embellishment  of  Yasodharapura  because  "though  an  eminent 
Buddhist"  his  loyalty  was  above  suspicion3.  The  same  minister 
erected  three  towers  at  Bat  Cum  with  inscriptions4  which  record 
the  dedication  of  a  tank.  The  first  invokes  the  Buddha,  Vajra- 
pani5  and  Lokesvara.  In  the  others  Lokesvara  is  replaced  by 
Prajna-paramita  who  here,  as  elsewhere,  is  treated  as  a  goddess 
or  Sakti  and  referred  to  as  Devi  in  another  stanza6.  The  three 
inscriptions  commemorate  the  construction  of  a  sacred  tank 

1  See  Senart  in  Revue  Archdologique,  1883.    As  in  many  inscriptions  it  is  not 
always  plain  who  is  speaking  but  in  most  parts  it  is  apparently  the  minister  pro 
mulgating  the  instructions  of  the  king. 

2  Inscript.  of  Prasat  Prah  Khse,  Corpus,  I.  p.  173. 
8  Buddhanam  agranir  api,  J.A.  xx.  1882,  p.  164. 

4  See  Coedes,  "Inscriptions  de  Bat  Cum,"  in  J.A.  xn.  1908,  pp.  230,  241. 

5  The  Bodhisattva  corresponding  to  the  Buddha  Akshobhya.    He  is  green  or 
blue  and  carries  a  thunderbolt.    It  seems  probable  that  he  is  a  metamorphosis  of 

6  An  exceedingly  curious  stanza  eulogizes  the  doctrine  of  the  non-existence 
of  the  soul  taught  by  the  Buddha  which  leads  to  identification  with  the  universal 
soul  although  contrary  to  it.    Vuddho  vodhim  vidaddhyad  vo  yena  nairatmyadar- 
6anam  viruddhasyapi  sadhuktam  sadhanam  paramatmanah. 




but,  though  the  author  was  a  Buddhist,  he  expressly  restricts 
the  use  of  it  to  Brahmanic  functionaries. 

The  inscription  of  Srey  Santhor1  (c.  975  A.D.)  describes  the 
successful  efforts  of  Kirtipandita  to  restore  Buddhism  and  gives 
the  instructions  of  the  king  (Jayavarman  V)  as  to  its  status. 
The  royal  chaplain  is  by  no  means  to  abandon  the  worship  of 
Siva  but  he  is  to  be  well  versed  in  Buddhist  learning  and  on 
feast  days  he  will  bathe  the  statue  of  the  Buddha  with  due 

A  point  of  interest  in  this  inscription  is  the  statement  that 
Kirtipandita  introduced  Buddhist  books  from  abroad,  including 
the  Sastra  Madhyavibhaga  and  the  commentary  on  the  Tattva- 
sangraha.  The  first  of  these  is  probably  the  Madhyantavibhaga 
sastra2  by  Vasubandhu  and  the  authorship  is  worth  attention 
as  supporting  Taranatha's  statement  that  the  disciples  of 
Vasubandhu  introduced  Buddhism  into  Indo-China. 

In  the  time  of  Jayavarman  VII  (c.  1185  A.D.),  although 
Hindu  mythology  is  not  discarded  and  though  the  king's 
chaplain  (presumably  a  Sivaite)  receives  every  honour,  yet 
Mahayanist  Buddhism  seems  to  be  frankly  professed  as  the 
royal  religion.  It  is  noteworthy  that  about  the  same  time  it 
becomes  more  prominent  in  Java  and  Champa.  Probably  the 
flourishing  condition  of  the  faith  in  Ceylon  and  Burma  increased 
the  prestige  of  all  forms  of  Buddhism  throughout  south-eastern 
Asia.  A  long  inscription  of  Jayavarman  in  145  stanzas  has  been 
preserved  in  the  temple  of  Ta  Prohm  near  Angkor.  It  opens 
with  an  invocation  to  the  Buddha,  in  which  are  mentioned  the 
three  bodies,  Lokesvara3,  and  the  Mother  of  the  Jinas,  by  whom 
Prajna-paramita  must  be  meant.  Siva  is  not  invoked  but 
allusion  is  made  to  many  Brahmanic  deities  and  Bhikkhus  and 
Brahmans  are  mentioned  together.  The  inscription  contains  a 
curious  list  of  the  materials  supplied  daily  for  the  temple 
services  and  of  the  personnel.  Ample  provision  is  made  for 
both,  but  it  is  not  clear  how  far  a  purely  Buddhist  ritual  is 
contemplated  and  it  seems  probable  that  an  extensive  Brah 
manic  cultus  existed  side  by  side  with  the  Buddhist  ceremonial. 

1  Aymonier,  i  pp.  261  ff.   Senart,  Revue  Archeologique,  Mars-Avril,  1883. 

2  Nanjio,  1244  and  1248. 

8  The  common  designation  of  Avalokita  in  Camboja  and  Java.  For  the  inscrip 
tion  see  B.E.F.E.O.  1906,  pp.  44  ff. 

E.  m.  a 


We  learn  that  there  were  clothes  for  the  deities  and  forty-five 
mosquito  nets  of  Chinese  material  to  protect  their  statues.  The 
Uposatha  days  seem  to  be  alluded  to1  and  the  spring  festival  is 
described,  when  "Bhagavat  and  Bhagavati"  are  to  be  escorted 
in  solemn  procession  with  parasols,  music,  banners  and  dancing 
girls.  The  whole  staff,  including  Burmese  and  Chams  (probably 
slaves),  is  put  down  at  the  enormous  figure  of  79,365,  which 
perhaps  includes  all  the  neighbouring  inhabitants  who  could  be 
called  on  to  render  any  service  to  the  temple.  The  more  sacer 
dotal  part  of  the  establishment  consisted  of  18  principal  priests 
(adhikarinah),  2740  priests  and  2232  assistants,  including  615 
dancing  girls.  But  even  these  figures  seem  very  large2. 

The  inscription  comes  to  a  gratifying  conclusion  by  an 
nouncing  that  there  are  102  hospitals  in  the  kingdom3.  These 
institutions,  which  are  alluded  to  in  other  inscriptions,  were 
probably  not  all  founded  by  Jayavarman  VII  and  he  seems  to 
treat  them  as  being,  like  temples,  a  natural  part  of  a  well- 
ordered  state.  But  he  evidently  expended  much  care  and  money 
on  them  and  in  the  present  inscription  he  makes  over  the  fruit 
of  these  good  deeds  to  his  mother.  The  most  detailed  description 
of  these  hospitals  occurs  in  another  of  his  inscriptions  found  at 
Say-fong  in  Laos.  It  is,  like  the  one  just  cited,  definitely  Bud 
dhist  and  it  is  permissible  to  suppose  that  Buddhism  took  a 
more  active  part  than  Brahmanism  in  such  works  of  charity. 
It  opens  with  an  invocation  first  to  the  Buddha  who  in  his 
three  bodies  transcends  the  distinction  between  existence  and 
non-existence,  and  then  to  the  healing  Buddha  and  the  two 
Bodhisattvas  who  drive  away  darkness  and  disease.  These 
divinities,  who  are  the  lords  of  a  heaven  in  the  east,  analogous 
to  the  paradise  of  Amitabha,  are  still  worshipped  in  China  and 
Japan  and  were  evidently  gods  of  light4.  The  hospital  erected 

1  Stanza  XLVT. 

2  The  inscription  only  says  "There  are  here  (atra)."    Can  this  mean  in  the 
various  religious  establishments  maintained  by  the  king? 

8  See  also  Finot,  Notes  d'Epig.  pp.  332-335.  The  Mahavamsa  repeatedly  men 
tions  that  kings  founded  hospitals  and  distributed  medicines.  See  too,  Yule,  Marco 
Polo,  i.  p.  446.  The  care  of  the  sick  was  recognized  as  a  duty  and  a  meritorious  act  in 
all  Buddhist  countries  and  is  recommended  by  the  example  of  the  Buddha  himself. 

4  Their  somewhat  lengthy  titles  are  Bhaishajyaguruvaiduryaprabharaja,  Surya- 
vairocanacandaroci  and  Candravairocanarohinisa.  See  for  an  account  of  them  and 
the  texts  on  which  their  worship  is  founded  the  learned  article  of  M.  Pelliot,  "Le 
Bhaisajyaguru,"  B.E.F.E.O.  1903,  p.  33. 




under  their  auspices  by  the  Cambojan  king  was  open  to  all  the 
four  castes  and  had  a  staff  of  98  persons,  besides  an  astrologer 
and  two  sacrificers  (yajaka). 

These  inscriptions  of  Jayavarman  are  the  last  which  tell 
us  anything  about  the  religion  of  mediaeval  Camboja  but  we 
have  a  somewhat  later  account  from  the  pen  of  Chou  Ta-kuan, 
a  Chinese  who  visited  Angkor  in  12961.  He  describes  the 
temple  in  the  centre  of  the  city,  which  must  be  the  Bayon,  and 
says  that  it  had  a  tower  of  gold  and  that  the  eastern  (or  princi 
pal)  entrance  was  approached  by  a  golden  bridge  flanked  by 
two  lions  and  eight  statues,  all  of  the  same  metal.  The  chapter 
of  his  work  entitled  "The  Three  Religions,"  runs  as  follows, 
slightly  abridged  from  M.  Pelliot's  version. 

"The  literati  are  called  Pan-ch'i,  the  bonzes  Ch'u-ku  and  the 
Taoists  Pa-ssu-wei.  I  do  not  know  whom  the  Pan-ch'i  worship. 
They  have  no  schools  and  it  is  difficult  to  say  what  books  they 
read.  They  dress  like  other  people  except  that  they  wear  a 
white  thread  round  their  necks,  which  is  their  distinctive  mark. 
They  attain  to  very  high  positions.  The  Ch'u-ku  shave  their 
heads  and  wear  yellow  clothes.  They  uncover  the  right  shoulder, 
but  the  lower  part  of  their  body  is  draped  with  a  skirt  of  yellow 
cloth  and  they  go  bare  foot.  Their  temples  are  sometimes 
roofed  with  tiles.  Inside  there  is  only  one  image,  exactly  like 
the  Buddha  Sakya,  which  they  call  Po-lai  (=  Prah),  ornamented 
with  vermilion  and  blue,  and  clothed  in  red.  The  Buddhas  of 
the  towers  ( ?  images  in  the  towers  of  the  temples)  are  different 
and  cast  in  bronze.  There  are  no  bells,  drums,  cymbals,  or  flags 
in  their  temples.  They  eat  only  one  meal  a  day,  prepared  by 
someone  who  entertains  them,  for  they  do  not  cook  in  their 
temples.  They  eat  fish  and  meat  and  also  use  them  in  their 
offerings  to  Buddha,  but  they  do  not  drink  wine.  They  recite 
numerous  texts  written  on  strips  of  palm-leaf.  Some  bonzes 
have  a  right  to  have  the  shafts  of  their  palanquins  and  the 
handles  of  their  parasols  in  gold  or  silver.  The  prince  consults 
them  on  serious  matters.  There  are  no  Buddhist  nuns. 

"The  Pa-ssu-wei  dress  like  everyone  else,  except  that  they 
wear  on  their  heads  a  piece  of  red  or  white  stuff  like  the  Ku-ku 

1  His  narrative  is  translated  by  M.  Pelliot  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1902,  pp.  123-177. 


worn  by  Tartar  women  but  lower.  Their  temples  are  smaller 
than  those  of  the  Buddhists,  for  Taoism  is  less  prosperous  than 
Buddhism.  They  worship  nothing  but  a  block  of  stone,  somewhat 
like  the  stone  on  the  altar  of  the  God  of  the  Sun  in  China.  I 
do  not  know  what  god  they  adore.  There  are  also  Taoist  nuns. 
The  Pa-ssu-wei  do  not  partake  of  the  food  of  other  people  or 
eat  in  public.  They  do  not  drink  wine. 

"Such  children  of  the  laity  as  go  to  school  frequent  the 
bonzes,  who  give  them  instruction.  When  grown  up  they 
return  to  a  lay  life. 

"I  have  not  been  able  to  make  an  exhaustive  investigation." 

Elsewhere  he  says  "All  worship  the  Buddha"  and  he 
describes  some  popular  festivals  which  resemble  those  now 
celebrated  in  Siam.  In  every  village  there  was  a  temple  or  a 
Stupa.  He  also  mentions  that  in  eating  they  use  leaves  as 
spoons  and  adds  "It  is  the  same  in  their  sacrifices  to  the  spirits 
and  to  Buddha." 

Chou  Ta-kuan  confesses  that  his  account  is  superficial  and 
he  was  perhaps  influenced  by  the  idea  that  it  was  natural  there 
should  be  three  religions  in  Camboja,  as  in  China.  Buddhists 
were  found  in  both  countries:  Pan-ch'i  no  doubt  represents 
Pandita  and  he  saw  an  analogy  between  the  Brahmans  of  the 
Cambojan  Court  and  Confucian  mandarins:  a  third  and  less 
known  sect  he  identified  with  the  Taoists.  The  most  important 
point  in  his  description  is  the  prominence  given  to  the  Buddhists. 
His  account  of  their  temples,  of  the  dress  and  life  of  their 
monks1  leaves  no  doubt  that  he  is  describing  Hinayanist  Bud 
dhism  such  as  still  flourishes  in  Camboja.  It  probably  found  its 
way  from  Siam,  with  which  Camboja  had  already  close,  but 
not  always  peaceful,  relations.  Probably  the  name  by  which 
the  bonzes  are  designated  is  Siamese2.  With  Chou  Ta-kuan's 
statements  may  be  compared  the  inscription  of  the  Siamese 
King  Rama  Khomheng3  which  dwells  on  the  flourishing  con 
dition  of  Pali  Buddhism  in  Siam  about  1300  A.D.  The  contrast 
indicated  by  Chou  Ta-kuan  is  significant.  The  Brahmans  held 

1  Pelliot  (B.E.F.E.O.  1902,  p.  148)  cites  a  statement  from  the  Ling  Wai  Tai  Ta 
that  there  were  two  classes  of  bonzes  in  Camboja,  those  who  wore  yellow  robes 
and  married  and  those  who  wore  red  robes  and  lived  in  convents. 

2  M.  Finot  conjectures  that  it  represents  the  Siamese  Chao  (Lord)  and  a  corrup 
tion  of  Guru. 

3  See  chapter  on  Siam,  sect.  1. 




high  office  but  had  no  schools.  Those  of  the  laity  who  desired 
education  spent  some  portion  of  their  youth  in  a  Buddhist 
monastery  (as  they  still  do)  and  then  returned  to  the  world. 
Such  a  state  of  things  naturally  resulted  in  the  diffusion  of 
Buddhism  among  the  people,  while  the  Brahmans  dwindled  to 
a  Court  hierarchy.  When  Chou  Ta-kuan  says  that  all  the  Cam- 
bojans  adored  Buddha,  he  probably  makes  a  mistake,  as  he 
does  in  saying  that  the  sculptures  above  the  gates  of  Angkor 
are  heads  of  Buddha.  But  the  general  impression  which  he 
evidently  received  that  everyone  frequented  Buddhist  temples 
and  monasteries  speaks  for  itself.  His  statement  about  sacri 
fices  to  Buddha  is  remarkable  and,  since  the  inscriptions  of 
Jayavarman  VII  speak  of  sacrificers,  it  cannot  be  rejected  as  a 
mere  mistake.  But  if  Hinayanist  Buddhism  countenanced  such 
practices  in  an  age  of  transition,  it  did  not  adopt  them  per 
manently  for,  so  far  as  I  have  seen,  no  offerings  are  made  to-day 
in  Cambojan  temples,  except  flowers  and  sticks  of  incense. 

The  Pa-ssu-wei  have  given  rise  to  many  conjectures  and  have 
been  identified  with  the  Basaih  or  sacerdotal  class  of  the  Chams. 
But  there  seems  to  be  little  doubt  that  the  word  really  represents 
Pasupata  and  Chou  Ta-kuan's  account  clearly  points  to  a  sect 
of  linga  worshippers,  although  no  information  is  forthcoming 
about  the  "stone  on  the  altar  of  the  Sun  God  in  China"  to 
which  he  compares  their  emblem.  His  idea  that  they  repre 
sented  the  Taoists  in  Camboja  may  have  led  him  to  exaggerate 
their  importance  but  his  statement  that  they  were  a  separate 
body  is  confirmed,  for  an  inscription  of  Angkor1  defines  the 
order  of  hierarchical  precedence  as  "the  Brahman,  the  Saiva 
Acarya,  the  Pasupata  Acarya2." 

From  the  time  of  Chou  Ta-kuan  to  the  present  day  I  have 

1  Corpus,  IT.  p.  422. 

2  The  strange  statement  of  Chou  Ta-kuan  (pp.  153-155)  that  the  Buddhist  and 
Taoist  priests  enjoyed  a  species  of  jus  primce  noctis  has  been  much  discussed. 
Taken  by  itself  it  might  be  merely  a  queer  story  founded  on  a  misunderstanding 
of  Cambojan  customs,  for  he  candidly  says  that  his  information  is  untrustworthy. 
But  taking  it  in  connection  with  the  stories  about  the  Aris  in  Burma  (see  especially 
Finot,  J.A.  1912,  p.  121)  and  the  customs  attributed  by  Chinese  and  Europeans 
to  the  Siamese  and  Philippines,  we  can  hardly  come  to  any  conclusion  except  that 
this  strange  usage  was  an  aboriginal  custom  in  Indo-China  and  the  Archipelago, 
prior  to  the  introductions  of  Indian  civilization,  but  not  suppressed  for  some  time. 
At  the  present  day  there  seems  to  be  no  trace  or  even  tradition  of  such  a  custom. 
For  Siamese  and  Philippine  customs  see  B.E.F.E.O.  1902,  p.  153,  note  4. 


found  few  notices  about  the  religion  of  Camboja.  Hinayahist 
Buddhism  became  supreme  and  though  we  have  few  details  of 
the  conquest  we  can  hardly  go  wrong  in  tracing  its  general 
lines.  Brahmanism  was  exclusive  and  tyrannical.  It  made  no 
appeal  to  the  masses  but  a  severe  levy  of  forced  labour  must 
have  been  necessary  to  erect  and  maintain  the  numerous  great 
shrines  which,  though  in  ruins,  are  still  the  glory  of  Camboja1. 
In  many  of  them  are  seen  the  remains  of  inscriptions  which 
have  been  deliberately  erased.  These  probably  prescribed  cer 
tain  onerous  services  which  the  proletariat  was  bound  to  render 
to  the  established  church.  When  Siamese  Buddhism  invaded 
Camboja  it  had  a  double  advantage.  It  was  the  creed  of  an 
aggressive  and  successful  neighbour  but,  while  thus  armed  with 
the  weapons  of  this  world,  it  also  appealed  to  the  poor  and 
oppressed.  If  it  enjoyed  the  favour  of  princes,  it  had  no  desire 
to  defend  the  rights  of  a  privileged  caste :  it  offered  salvation 
and  education  to  the  average  townsman  and  villager.  If  it 
invited  the  support  and  alms  of  the  laity,  it  was  at  least  modest 
in  its  demands.  Brahmanism  on  the  other  hand  lost  strength 
as  the  prestige  of  the  court  declined.  Its  greatest  shrines  were 
in  the  provinces  most  exposed  to  Siamese  attacks.  The  first 
Portuguese  writers  speak  of  them  as  already  deserted  at  the 
end  of  the  sixteenth  century.  The  connection  with  India  was 
not  kept  up  and  if  any  immigrants  came  from  the  west,  after 
the  twelfth  century  they  are  more  likely  to  have  been  Moslims 
than  Hindus.  Thus  driven  from  its  temples,  with  no  roots 
among  the  people,  whose  affections  it  had  never  tried  to  win, 
Brahmanism  in  Camboja  became  what  it  now  is,  a  court 
ritual  without  a  creed  and  hardly  noticed  except  at  royal 

It  is  remarkable  that  Mohammedanism  remained  almost 
unknown  to  Camboja,  Siam  and  Burma.  The  tide  of  Moslim 
invasion  swept  across  the  Malay  Peninsula  southwards.  Its 
effect  was  strongest  in  Sumatra  and  Java,  feebler  on  the  coasts 
of  Borneo  and  the  Philippines.  From  the  islands  it  reached 
Champa,  where  it  had  some  success,  but  Siam  and  Camboja 
lay  on  one  side  of  its  main  route,  and  also  showed  no  sympathy 

1  The  French  Archaeological  Commission  states  that  exclusive  of  Angkor  and 
the  neighbouring  buildings  there  are  remains  of  600  temples  in  Camboja,  and 
probably  many  have  entirely  disappeared. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  129 

for  it.  King  Rama  Thuppdey  Chan1  who  reigned  in  Camboja 
from  1642-1659  became  a  Mohammedan  and  surrounded  him 
self  with  Malays  and  Javanese.  But  he  alienated  the  affections 
of  his  subjects  and  was  deposed  by  the  intervention  of  Annam. 
After  this  we  hear  no  more  of  Mohammedanism.  An  unusual 
incident,  which  must  be  counted  among  the  few  cases  in  which 
Buddhism  has  encouraged  violence,  is  recorded  in  the  year  1730, 
when  a  Laotian  who  claimed  to  be  inspired,  collected  a  band  of 
fanatics  and  proceeded  to  massacre  in  the  name  of  Buddha  all 
the  Annamites  resident  in  Camboja.  This  seems  to  show  that 
Buddhism  was  regarded  as  the  religion  of  the  country  and  could 
be  used  as  a  national  cry  against  strangers. 

As  already  mentioned  Brahmanism  still  survives  in  the 
court  ceremonial  though  this  by  no  means  prevents  the  king 
from  being  a  devout  Buddhist.  The  priests  are  known  as  Bakus. 
They  wear  a  top-knot  and  the  sacred  thread  after  the  Indian 
fashion,  and  enjoy  certain  privileges.  Within  the  precincts  of 
the  palace  at  Phnom  Penh  is  a  modest  building  where  they  still 
guard  the  sword  of  Indra.  About  two  inches  of  the  blade  are 
shown  to  visitors,  but  except  at  certain  festivals  it  is  never 
taken  out  of  its  sheath. 

The  official  programme  of  the  coronation  of  King  Sisowath 
(April  23-28,  1906),  published  in  French  and  Cambojan,  gives 
a  curious  account  of  the  ceremonies  performed,  which  were 
mainly  Brahmanic,  although  prayers  were  recited  by  the  Bonzes 
and  offerings  made  to  Buddha.  Four  special  Brahmanic  shrines 
were  erected  and  the  essential  part  of  the  rite  consisted  in  a 
lustral  bath,  in  which  the  Bakus  poured  water  over  the  king. 
Invocations  were  addressed  to  beings  described  as  "Anges  qui 
etes  au  paradis  des  six  sejours  celestes,  qui  habitez  aupres 
d'Indra,  de  Brahma  et  de  1'archange  Sahabodey,"  to  the  spirits 
of  mountains,  valleys  and  rivers  and  to  the  spirits  who  guard 
the  palace.  When  the  king  has  been  duly  bathed  the  programme 
prescribes  that  "le  Directeur  des  Bakous  remettra  la  couronne 
a  M.  le  Gouverneur  General  qui  la  portera  sur  la  tete  de  Sa 
Majeste  au  nom  du  Gouvernement  de  la  Republique  Fran9aise." 
Equally  curious  is  the  "Programme  des  fetes  royales  a  1'occasion 
de  la  cremation  de  S.M.  Norodom"  (January  2-16,  1906).  The 
lengthy  ceremonial  consisted  of  a  strange  mixture  of  prayers, 

1  Maspdro,  pp.  62-3. 


sermons,  pageants  and  amusements.  The  definitely  religious 
exercises  were  Buddhist  and  the  amusements  which  accom 
panied  them,  though  according  to  our  notions  curiously  out  of 
place,  clearly  correspond  to  the  funeral  games  of  antiquity. 
Thus  we  read  not  only  of  "offrande  d'un  repas  aux  urnes 
royales"  but  of  "illuminations  generates ...  lancement  de 
ballons. .  .luttes  et  assauts  de  boxe  et  de  1'escrime. .  .danses  et 
soiree  de  gala. . . .  Apres  la  cremation,  Sa  Majeste  distribuera  des 
billets  de  tombola." 

The  ordinary  Buddhism  of  Camboja  at  the  present  day 
resembles  that  of  Siam  and  is  not  mixed  with  Brahmanic  ob 
servances.  Monasteries  are  numerous :  the  monks  enjoy  general 
respect  and  their  conduct  is  said  to  be  beyond  reproach.  They 
act  as  schoolmasters  and,  as  in  Siam  and  Burma,  all  young  men 
spend  some  time  in  a  monastery.  A  monastery  generally  con 
tains  from  thirty  to  fifty  monks  and  consists  of  a  number  of 
wooden  houses  raised  on  piles  and  arranged  round  a  square. 
Each  monk  has  a  room  and  often  a  house  to  himself.  Besides 
the  dwelling  houses  there  are  also  stores  and  two  halls  called 
Sala  and  Vihear  (vihara).  In  both  the  Buddha  is  represented 
by  a  single  gigantic  sitting  image,  before  which  are  set  flowers 
and  incense.  As  a  rule  there  are  no  other  images  but  the  walls 
are  often  ornamented  with  frescoes  of  Jataka  stories  or  the 
early  life  of  Gotama.  Meals  are  taken  in  the  Sala  at  about  7  and 
11  a.m.1,  and  prayers  are  recited  there  on  ordinary  days  in  the 
morning  and  evening.  The  eleven  o'clock  meal  is  followed  by  a 
rather  long  grace.  The  prayers  consist  mostly  of  Pali  formulae, 
such  as  the  Three  Refuges,  but  they  are  sometimes  in  Cambojan 
and  contain  definite  petitions  or  at  least  wishes  formulated 
before  the  image  of  the  Buddha.  Thus  I  have  heard  prayers  for 
peace  and  against  war.  The  more  solemn  ceremonies,  such  as 
the  Uposatha  and  ordinations,  are  performed  in  the  Vihear. 
The  recitation  of  the  Patimokkha  is  regularly  performed  and  I 
have  several  times  witnessed  it.  All  but  ordained  monks  have 
to  withdraw  outside  the  Sima  stones  during  the  service.  The 
ceremony  begins  about  6  p.m.:  the  Bhikkhus  kneel  down  in 
pairs  face  to  face  and  rubbing  their  foreheads  in  the  dust  ask 
for  mutual  forgiveness  if  they  have  inadvertently  offended. 

1  The  food  is  prepared  in  the  monasteries,  and,  as  in  other  countries,  the  begging 
round  is  a  mere  formality. 




This  ceremony  is  also  performed  on  other  occasions.  It  is 
followed  by  singing  or  intoning  lauds,  after  which  comes  the 
recitation  of  the  Patimokkha  itself  which  is  marked  by  great 
solemnity.  The  reader  sits  in  a  large  chair  on  the  arms  of  which 
are  fixed  many  lighted  tapers.  He  repeats  the  text  by  heart 
but  near  him  sits  a  prompter  with  a  palm-leaf  manuscript 
who,  if  necessary,  corrects  the  words  recited.  I  have  never 
seen  a  monk  confess  in  public,  and  I  believe  that  the  usual 
practice  is  for  sinful  brethren  to  abstain  from  attending  the 
ceremony  and  then  to  confess  privately  to  the  Abbot,  who 
assigns  them  a  penance.  As  soon  as  the  Patimokkha  is  concluded 
all  the  Bhikkhus  smoke  large  cigarettes.  In  most  Buddhist 
countries  it  is  not  considered  irreverent  to  smoke1,  chew  betel 
or  drink  tea  in  the  intervals  of  religious  exercises.  When  the 
cigarettes  are  finished  there  follows  a  service  of  prayer  and 
praise  in  Cambojan.  During  the  season  of  Wassa  there  are 
usually  several  Bhikkhus  in  each  monastery  who  practise 
meditation  for  three  or  four  days  consecutively  in  tents  or 
enclosures  made  of  yellow  cloth,  open  above  but  closed  all 
round.  The  four  stages  of  meditation  described  in  the  Pitakas 
are  jaid  to  be  commonly  attained  by  devout  monks2. 

The  Abbot  has  considerable  authority  in  disciplinary  matters. 
He  eats  apart  from  the  other  monks  and  at  religious  ceremonies 
wears  a  sort  of  red  cope,  whereas  the  dress  of  the  other  brethren 
is  entirely  yellow.  Novices  prostrate  themselves  when  they 
speak  to  him. 

Above  the  Abbots  are  Provincial  Superiors  and  the  govern 
ment  of  the  whole  Church  is  in  the  hands  of  the  Somdec  prah 
sanghrac.  There  is,  or  was,  also  a  second  prelate  called  Lok  prah 
s6kon,  or  Brah  Sugandha,  and  the  two,  somewhat  after  the 
manner  of  the  two  primates  of  the  English  Church,  supervise 
the  clergy  in  different  parts  of  the  kingdom,  the  second  being 
inferior  to  the  first  in  rank,  but  not  dependent  on  him.  But  it 
is  said  that  no  successor  has  been  appointed  to  the  last  Brah 
Sugandha  who  died  in  1894.  He  was  a  distinguished  scholar 
and  introduced  the  Dhammayut  sect  from  Siam  into  Camboja. 

1  But  in  Chinese  temples  notices  forbidding  smoking  are  often  posted  on  the 

3  The  word  dhyana  is  known,  but  the  exercise  is  more  commonly  called  Vi- 
passana  or  Kaminathana. 


The  king  is  recognized  as  head  of  the  Church,  but  cannot  alter 
its  doctrine  or  confiscate  ecclesiastical  property. 


No  account  of  Cambojan  religion  would  be  complete  without 
some  reference  to  the  splendid  monuments  in  which  it  found 
expression  and  which  still  remain  in  a  great  measure  intact. 
The  colonists  who  established  themselves  in  these  regions 
brought  with  them  the  Dravidian  taste  for  great  buildings,  but 
either  their  travels  enlarged  their  artistic  powers  or  they 
modified  the  Indian  style  by  assimilating  successfully  some 
architectural  features  found  in  their  new  home.  What  pre- 
Indian  architecture  there  may  have  been  among  the  Khmers 
we  do  not  know,  but  the  fact  that  the  earliest  known  monu 
ments  are  Hindu  makes  it  improbable  that  stone  buildings  on  a 
large  scale  existed  before  their  arrival.  The  feature  which  most 
clearly  distinguishes  Cambojan  from  Indian  architecture  is  its 
pyramidal  structure.  India  has  stupas  and  gopurams  of  pyra 
midal  appearance  but  still  Hindu  temples  of  the  normal  type, 
both  in  the  north  and  south,  consist  of  a  number  of  buildings 
erected  on  the  same  level.  In  Camboja  on  the  contrary  many 
buildings,  such  as  Ta-Keo,  Ba-phuong  and  the  Phimeanakas, 
are  shrines  on  the  top  of  pyramids,  which  consist  of  three  storeys 
or  large  steps,  ascended  by  flights  of  relatively  small  steps.  In 
other  buildings,  notably  Angkor  Wat,  the  pyramidal  form  is 
obscured  by  the  slight  elevation  of  the  storeys  compared  with 
their  breadth  and  by  the  elaboration  of  the  colonnades  and  other 
edifices,  which  they  bear.  But  still  the  general  plan  is  that  of 
a  series  of  courts  each  rising  within  and  above  the  last  and  this 
gradual  rise,  by  which  the  pilgrim  is  led,  not  only  through 
colonnade  after  colonnade,  but  up  flight  after  flight  of  stairs, 
each  leading  to  something  higher  but  invisible  from  the  base, 
imparts  to  Cambojan  temples  a  sublimity  and  aspiring  grandeur 
which  is  absent  from  the  mysterious  halls  of  Dravidian  shrines. 

One  might  almost  suppose  that  the  Cambojan  architects 
had  deliberately  set  themselves  to  rectify  the  chief  faults  of 
Indian  architecture.  One  of  these  is  the  profusion  of  external 
ornament  in  high  relief  which  by  its  very  multiplicity  ceases  to 
produce  any  effect  proportionate  to  its  elaboration,  with  the 

xxxvin]  CAMBOJA  133 

result  that  the  general  view  is  disappointing  and  majestic  out 
lines  are  wanting.  In  Cambojan  buildings  on  the  contrary  the 
general  effect  is  not  sacrificed  to  detail:  the  artists  knew  how 
to  make  air  and  space  give  dignity  to  their  work.  Another 
peculiar  defect  of  many  Dravidian  buildings  is  that  they  were 
gradually  erected  round  some  ancient  and  originally  humble 
shrine  with  the  unfortunate  result  that  the  outermost  courts 
and  gateways  are  the  most  magnificent  and  that  progress  to 
the  holy  of  holies  is  a  series  of  artistic  disappointments.  But  at 
Angkor  Wat  this  fault  is  carefully  avoided.  The  long  paved 
road  which  starts  from  the  first  gateway  isolates  the  great 
central  mass  of  buildings  without  dwarfing  it  and  even  in 
the  last  court,  when  one  looks  up  the  vast  staircases  leading 
to  the  five  towers  which  crown  the  pyramid,  all  that  has  led 
up  to  the  central  shrine  seems,  as  it  should,  merely  an  intro 

The  solidity  of  Cambojan  architecture  is  connected  with  the 
prevalence  of  inundations.  With  such  dangers  it  was  of  primary 
importance  to  have  a  massive  substructure  which  could  not  be 
washed  away  and  the  style  which  was  necessary  in  building  a 
firm  stone  platform  inspired  the  rest  of  the  work.  Some  un 
finished  temples  reveal  the  interesting  fact  that  they  were 
erected  first  as  piles  of  plain  masonry.  Then  came  the  decorator 
and  carved  the  stones  as  they  stood  in  their  places,  so  that 
instead  of  carving  separate  blocks  he  was  able  to  contemplate 
his  design  as  a  whole  and  to  spread  it  over  many  stones.  Hence 
most  Cambojan  buildings  have  a  peculiar  air  of  unity.  They 
have  not  had  ornaments  affixed  to  them  but  have  grown  into 
an  ornamental  whole.  Yet  if  an  unfavourable  criticism  is  to 
be  made  on  these  edifices — especially  Angkor  Wat — it  is  that 
the  sculptures  are  wanting  in  meaning  and  importance.  They 
cannot  be  compared  to  the  reliefs  of  Boroboedoer,  a  veritable 
catechism  in  stone  where  every  clause  teaches  the  believer 
something  new,  or  even  to  the  piles  of  figures  in  Dravidian 
temples  which,  though  of  small  artistic  merit,  seem  to  represent 
the  whirl  of  the  world  with  all  its  men  and  monsters,  struggling 
from  life  into  death  and  back  to  life  again.  The  reliefs  in  the 
great  corridors  of  Angkor  are  purely  decorative.  The  artist 
justly  felt  that  so  long  a  stretch  of  plain  stone  would  be 
wearisome,  and  as  decoration,  his  work  is  successful.  Looking 


outwards  the  eye  is  satisfied  with  such  variety  as  the  trees  and 
houses  in  the  temple  courts  afford:  looking  inwards  it  finds 
similar  variety  in  the  warriors  and  deities  portrayed  on  the 
walls.  Some  of  the  scenes  have  an  historical  interest,  but  the 
attempt  to  follow  the  battles  of  the  Ramayana  or  the  Churning 
of  the  Sea  soon  becomes  a  tedious  task,  for  there  is  little 
individuality  or  inspiration  in  the  figures. 

This  want  of  any  obvious  correspondence  between  the 
decoration  and  cult  of  the  Cambojan  temples  often  makes  it 
difficult  to  say  to  what  deities  they  were  dedicated.  The  Bayon, 
or  Sivasrama,  was  presumably  a  linga  temple,  yet  the  conjecture 
is  not  confirmed  as  one  would  expect  by  any  indubitable  evi 
dence  in  the  decoration  or  arrangements.  In  its  general  plan 
the  building  seems  more  Indian  than  others  and,  like  the  temple 
of  Jagannatha  at  Puri,  consists  of  three  successive  chambers, 
each  surmounted  by  a  tower.  The  most  remarkable  feature  in 
the  decoration  is  the  repetition  of  the  four-headed  figure  at  the 
top  of  every  tower,  a  striking  and  effective  motive,  which  is 
also  found  above  the  gates  of  the  town.  Chou  Ta-kuan  says 
that  there  were  golden  statues  of  Buddhas  at  the  entrance  to 
the  Bayon.  It  is  impossible  to  say  whether  this  statement  is 
accurate  or  not.  He  may  have  simply  made  a  mistake,  but  it  is 
equally  possible  that  the  fusion  of  the  two  creeds  may  have 
ended  in  images  of  the  Buddha  being  placed  outside  the  shrine 
of  the  linga. 

Strange  as  it  may  seem,  there  is  no  clear  evidence  as  to  the 
character  of  the  worship  performed  in  Camboja's  greatest 
temple,  Angkor  Wat.  Since  the  prince  who  commenced  it  was 
known  by  the  posthumous  title  of  Paramavishnuloka,  we  may 
presume  that  he  intended  to  dedicate  it  to  Vishnu  and  some 
of  the  sculptures  appear  to  represent  Vishnu  slaying  a  demon. 
But  it  was  not  finished  until  after  his  death  and  his  intentions 
may  not  have  been  respected  by  his  successors.  An  authoritative 
statement1  warns  us  that  it  is  not  safe  to  say  more  about  the 
date  of  Angkor  Wat  than  that  its  extreme  limits  are  1050  and 
1170.  Jayavarman  VII  (who  came  to  the  throne  at  about  this 
latter  date)  was  a  Buddhist,  and  may  possibly  have  used  the 
great  temple  for  his  own  worship.  The  sculptures  are  hardly 

1  M.  G.  Coed&s  in  Bull  Comm.  ArcUol.  1911,  p.  220. 

xxxvm]  CAMBOJA  135 

Brahmanic  in  the  theological  sense,  and  those  which  represent 
the  pleasures  of  paradise  and  the  pains  of  hell  recall  Buddhist 
delineations  of  the  same  theme1.  The  four  images  of  the  Buddha 
which  are  now  found  in  the  central  tower  are  modern  and  all 
who  have  seen  them  will,  I  think,  agree  that  the  figure  of  the 
great  teacher  which  seems  so  appropriate  in  the  neighbouring 
monasteries  is  strangely  out  of  place  in  this  aerial  shrine.  But 
what  the  designer  of  the  building  intended  to  place  there 
remains  a  mystery.  Perhaps  an  empty  throne  such  as  is  seen 
in  the  temples  of  Annam  and  Bali  would  have  been  the  best 

Though  the  monuments  of  Camboja  are  well  preserved  the 
grey  and  massive  severity  which  marks  them  at  present  is 
probably  very  different  from  the  appearance  that  they  wore 
when  used  for  worship.  From  Chou  Ta-kuan  and  other  sources3 
we  gather  that  the  towers  and  porches  were  .gilded,  the  bas- 
reliefs  and  perhaps  the  whole  surface  of  the  walls  were  painted, 
and  the  building  was  ornamented  with  flags.  Music  and  dances 
were  performed  in  the  courtyards  and,  as  in  many  Indian 
temples,  the  intention  was  to  create  a  scene  which  by  its 
animation  and  brilliancy  might  amuse  the  deity  and  rival  the 
pleasures  of  paradise. 

It  is  remarkable  that  ancient  Camboja  which  has  left  us  so 
many  monuments,  produced  no  books4.  Though  the  inscriptions 
and  Chou  Ta-kuan  testify  to  the  knowledge  of  literature 
(especially  religious),  both  Brahmanic  and  Buddhist,  diffused 
among  the  upper  classes,  no  original  works  or  even  adaptations 
of  Indian  originals  have  come  down  to  us.  The  length  and 

1  Although  there  is  no  reason  why  these  pictures  of  the  future  life  should  not  be 
Brahmanic  as  well  as  Buddhist,  I  do  not  remember  having  seen  them  in  any  purely 
Brahmanic  temple. 

2  After  spending  some  time  at  Angkor  Wat  I  find  it  hard  to  believe  the  theory 
that  it  was  a  palace.  The  King  of  Camboja  was  doubtless  regarded  as  a  living  God, 
but  so  is  the  Grand  Lama,  and  it  does  not  appear  that  the  Potala  where  he  lives  is 
anything  but  a  large  residential  building  containing  halls  and  chapels  much  like 
the  Vatican.    But  at  Angkor  Wat  everything  leads  up  to  a  central  shrine.    It  is 
quite  probable  however  that  the  deity  of  this  shrine  was  a  deified  king,  identified 
with  Vishnu  after  his  death.  This  would  account  for  the  remarks  of  Chou  Ta-kuan 
who  seems  to  have  regarded  it  as  a  tomb. 

3  See  especially  the  inscription  of  Bassac.  Kern,  Annales  de  r Extreme  Orient, 
t.  in.  1880,  p.  65. 

4  Pali  books  are  common  in  monasteries.   For  the  literature  of  Laos  see  Finot, 
B.E.F.E.O.  1917,  No.  5. 

136  BUDDHISM  OUTSIDE  INDIA    [OH.  xxxvm 

ambitious  character  of  many  inscriptions  give  an  idea  of  what 
the  Cambojans  could  do  in  the  way  of  writing,  but  the  result  is 
disappointing.  These  poems  in  stone  show  a  knowledge  of 
Sanskrit,  of  Indian  poetry  and  theology,  which  is  surprising  if 
we  consider  how  far  from  India  they  were  composed,  but  they 
are  almost  without  exception  artificial,  frigid  and  devoid  of 
vigour  or  inspiration. 


THE  kingdom  of  Champa,  though  a  considerable  power  from 
about  the  third  century  until  the  end  of  the  fifteenth,  has 
attracted  less  attention  than  Camboja  or  Java.  Its  name  is  a 
thing  of  the  past  and  known  only  to  students:  its  monuments 
are  inferior  in  size  and  artistic  merit  to  those  of  the  other  Hindu 
kingdoms  in  the  Far  East  and  perhaps  its  chief  interest  is  that 
it  furnishes  the  oldest  Sanskrit  inscription  yet  known  from  these 

Champa  occupied  the  south-eastern  corner  of  Asia  beyond 
the  Malay  Peninsula,  if  the  word  corner  can  be  properly  applied 
to  such  rounded  outlines.  Its  extent  varied  at  different  epochs, 
but  it  may  be  roughly  defined  in  the  language  of  modern 
geography  as  the  southern  portion  of  Annam,  comprising  the 
provinces  of  Quang-nam  in  the  north  and  Binh-Thuan  in  the 
south  with  the  intervening  country.  It  was  divided  into  three 
provinces,  which  respectively  became  the  seat  of  empire  at  differ 
ent  periods.  They  were  (i)  in  the  north  Amaravati  (the  modern 
Quang-nam)  with  the  towns  of  Indrapura  and  Sinhapura; 

1  Also  spelt  Campa  and  Tchampa.  It  seems  safer  to  use  Ch  for  C  in  names 
which  though  of  Indian  origin  are  used  outside  India.  The  final  a  though  strictly 
speaking  long  is  usually  written  without  an  accent.  The  following  are  the  principal 
works  which  I  have  consulted  about  Champa. 

(a)  G.  Maspero,  Le  Royaume  de  Champa.  Published  in  Toung  Poo,  1910-1912. 
Cited  as  Maspero. 

(b)  A.  Bergaigne,  "  Inscriptions  Sanskrites  de  Champa  "  in  Notices  et  Extraits 

des  Manuscrits  de  la  Bibliotheque  Nationale,  tome  xxvn.  lre  partie.  2e 
fascicule,  1893,  pp.  181-292.  Cited  as  Corpus,  n. 

(c)  H.  Parmentier,  Inventaire  descriptif  des  Monuments  Cams  de  V Annam. 


(d)  L.  Finot,  "La  Religion  des  Chams,"  B.E.F.E.O.  1901,  and  Notes  d'tipi- 

graphie.  "Les  Inscriptions  de  Mi-son,"  ib.  1904.  Numerous  other 
papers  by  this  author,  Durand,  Parmentier  and  others  in  the  same 
periodical  can  be  consulted  with  advantage. 

(e)  Id.,  Notes  d'tipigraphie  Indo-Chinoise,  1916. 


(ii)  in  the  middle  Vijaya  (the  modern  Bing-Dinh)  with  the 
town  of  Vijaya  and  the  port  of  Sri- Vinaya ;  (iii)  in  the  south 
Panduranga  or  Panran  (the  modern  provinces  of  Phanrang  and 
Binh-Thuan)  with  the  town  of  Virapura  or  Rajapura.  A  section 
of  Panduranga  called  Kauthara  (the  modern  Kanh  hoa)  was  a 
separate  province  at  certain  times.  Like  the  modern  Annam, 
Champa  appears  to  have  been  mainly  a  littoral  kingdom  and  not 
to  have  extended  far  into  the  mountains  of  the  interior. 

Champa  was  the  ancient  name  of  a  town  in  western  Bengal 
near  Bhagalpur,  but  its  application  to  these  regions  does  not 
seem  due  to  any  connection  with  north-eastern  India.  The 
conquerors  of  the  country,  who  were  called  Chams,  had  a 
certain  amount  of  Indian  culture  and  considered  the  classical 
name  Champa  as  an  elegant  expression  for  the  land  of  the 
Chams.  Judging  by  their  language  these  Chams  belonged  to 
the  Malay-Polynesian  group  and  their  distribution  along  the 
littoral  suggests  that  they  were  invaders  from  the  sea  like  the 
Malay  pirates  from  whom  they  themselves  subsequently 
suffered.  The  earliest  inscription  in  the  Cham  language  dates 
from  the  beginning  of  the  ninth  century  but  it  is  preceded  by 
a  long  series  of  Sanskrit  inscriptions  the  oldest  of  which,  that  of 
Vo-can1,  is  attributed  at  latest  to  the  third  century,  and  refers 
to  an  earlier  king.  It  therefore  seems  probable  that  the  Hindu 
dynasty  of  Champa  was  founded  between  150  and  200  A.D.  but 
there  is  no  evidence  to  show  whether  a  Malay  race  already 
settled  in  Champa  was  conquered  and  hinduized  by  Indian 
invaders,  or  whether  the  Chams  were  already  hinduized  when 
they  arrived,  possibly  from  Java. 

The  inferiority  of  the  Chams  to  the  Khmers  in  civilization 
was  the  result  of  their  more  troubled  history.  Both  countries 
had  to  contend  against  the  same  difficulty — a  powerful  and 
aggressive  neighbour  on  either  side.  Camboja  between  Siam  and 
Annam  in  1800  was  in  very  much  the  same  position  as  Champa 
had  been  between  Camboja  and  Annam  five  hundred  years 
earlier.  But  between  950  and  1150  A.D.  when  Champa  by  no 
means  enjoyed  stability  and  peace,  the  history  of  Camboja,  if 
not  altogether  tranquil,  at  least  records  several  long  reigns  of 
powerful  kings  who  were  able  to  embellish  their  capital  and 
assure  its  security.  The  Chams  were  exposed  to  attacks  not  only 

1  Corpus,  n.  p.  11,  and  Finot,  Notes  d'fipig.  pp.  227  ff. 

xxxix  J  CHAMPA  139 

from  Annam  but  also  from  the  more  formidable  if  distant 
Chinese  and  their  capital,  instead  of  remaining  stationary 
through  several  centuries  like  Angkor  Thorn,  was  frequently 
moved  as  one  or  other  of  the  three  provinces  became  more 

The  inscription  of  Vo-can  is  in  correct  Sanskrit  prose  and 
contains  a  fragmentary  address  from  a  king  who  seems  to  have 
been  a  Buddhist  and  writes  somewhat  in  the  style  of  Asoka.  He 
boasts  that  he  is  of  the  family  of  Srimararaja.  The  letters  closely 
resemble  those  of  Rudradaman's  inscription  at  Girnar  and  con 
temporary  inscriptions  at  Kanheri.  The  text  is  much  mutilated 
so  that  we  know  neither  the  name  of  the  writer  nor  his  relation 
ship  to  Srimara.  But  the  latter  was  evidently  the  founder  of 
the  dynasty  and  may  have  been  separated  from  his  descendant 
by  several  generations.  It  is  noticeable  that  his  name  does  not 
end  in  Varman,  like  those  of  later  kings.  If  he  lived  at  the  end 
of  the  second  century  this  would  harmonize  with  the  oldest 
Chinese  notices  which  fix  the  rise  of  Lin-I  (their  name  for 
Champa)  about  192  A.D.1  Agreeably  to  this  we  also  hear  that 
Hun  T'ien  founded  an  Indian  kingdom  in  Fu-nan  considerably 
before  265  A.D.  and  that  some  time  between  220  and  280  a  king 
of  Fu-nan  sent  an  embassy  to  India.  The  name  Fu-nan  may 
include  Champa.  But  though  we  hear  of  Hindu  kingdoms  in 
these  districts  at  an  early  date  we  know  nothing  of  their 
civilization  or  history,  nor  do  we  obtain  much  information  from 
those  Cham  legends  which  represent  the  dynasties  of  Champa 
as  descended  from  two  clans,  those  of  the  cabbage  palm 
(arequier)  and  cocoanut. 

Chinese  sources  also  state  that  a  king  called  Fan-yi  sent  an 
embassy  to  China  in  284  and  give  the  names  of  several  kings 
who  reigned  between  336  and  440.  One  of  these,  Fan-hu-ta,  is 
apparently  the  Bhadravarman  who  has  left  some  Sanskrit 
inscriptions  dating  from  about  400  and  who  built  the  first 
temple  at  Mi-so'n.  This  became  the  national  sanctuary  of 
Champa:  it  was  burnt  down  about  575  A.D.  but  rebuilt. 
Bhadravarman's  son  Gangaraja  appears  to  have  abdicated  and 
to  have  gone  on  a  pilgrimage  to  the  Ganges2 — another  instance 
of  the  intercourse  prevailing  between  these  regions  and  India. 

1  See  authorities  quoted  by  Maspero,  Toung  Poo,  1910,  p.  329. 

2  Finot  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  918  and  922. 

E.  in.  10 


It  would  be  useless  to  follow  in  detail  the  long  chronicle  of 
the  kings  of  Champa  but  a  few  events  merit  mention.  In  446 
and  again  in  605  the  Chinese  invaded  the  country  and  severely 
chastised  the  inhabitants.  But  the  second  invasion  was  followed 
by  a  period  of  peace  and  prosperity.  Sambhuvarman  (f  629) 
restored  the  temples  of  Mi-so'n  and  two  of  his  successors,  both 
called  Vikrantavarman,  were  also  great  builders.  The  kings  who 
reigned  from  758  to  859,  reckoned  as  the  fifth  dynasty,  belonged 
to  the  south  and  had  their  capital  at  Virapura.  The  change  seems 
to  have  been  important,  for  the  Chinese  who  had  previously 
called  the  country  Lin-I,  henceforth  call  it  Huan-wang.  The 
natives  continued  to  use  the  name  Champa  but  Satyavarman 
and  the  other  kings  of  the  dynasty  do  not  mention  Mi-so'n 
though  they  adorned  and  endowed  Po-nagar  and  other  sanctuaries 
in  the  south.  It  was  during  this  period  (A.D.  774  and  787)  that 
the  province  of  Kauthara  was  invaded  by  pirates,  described  as 
thin  black  barbarians  and  cannibals,  and  also  as  the  armies  of 
Java1.  They  pillaged  the  temples  but  were  eventually  expelled. 
They  were  probably  Malays  but  it  is  difficult  to  believe  that  the 
Javanese  could  be  seriously  accused  of  cannibalism  at  this 

The  capital  continued  to  be  transferred  under  subsequent 
dynasties.  Under  the  sixth  (860-900)  it  was  at  Indrapura  in  the 
north:  under  the  seventh  (900-986)  it  returned  to  the  south: 
under  the  eighth  (989-1044)  it  was  in  Vijaya,  the  central  pro 
vince.  These  internal  changes  were  accompanied  by  foreign 
attacks.  The  Khmers  invaded  the  southern  province  in  945.  On 
the  north  an  Annamite  Prince  founded  the  kingdom  of  Dai-co- 
viet,  which  became  a  thorn  in  the  side  of  Champa.  In  982  its 
armies  destroyed  Indrapura,  and  in  1044  they  captured  Vijaya. 
In  1069  King  Rudravarman  was  taken  prisoner  but  was  released 
in  return  for  the  cession  of  the  three  northernmost  provinces. 
Indrapura  however  was  rebuilt  and  for  a  time  successful  wars 
were  waged  against  Camboja,  but  though  the  kings  of  Champa 
did  not  acquiesce  in  the  loss  of  the  northern  provinces,  arid 

1  Corpus,  ii.  Sttle  de  Po  Nagar,  pp.  252  ff.  and  Stile  de  Yang  Tikuh,  p.  208,  etc. 

2  The  statements  that  they  came  from  Java  and  were  cannibals  occur  in  different 
inscriptions  and  may  conceivably  refer  to  two  bodies  of  invaders.    But  the  dates 
are  very  near.   Probably  Java  is  not  the  island  now  so  called.   See  the  chapter  on 
Camboja,  sec.  2.  The  undoubted  references  in  the  inscriptions  of  Champa  to  the 
island  of  Java  call  it  Yavadvipa. 

xxxix]  CHAMPA  141 

though  Harivarman  III  (1074r-80)  was  temporarily  victorious, 
no  real  progress  was  made  in  the  contest  with  Annam,  whither 
the  Chams  had  to  send  embassies  practically  admitting  that 
they  were  a  vassal  state.  In  the  next  century  further  disastrous 
quarrels  with  Camboja  ensued  and  in  1192  Champa  was  split 
into  two  kingdoms,  Vijaya  in  the  north  under  a  Cambojan 
prince  and  Panran  in  the  south  governed  by  a  Cham  prince  but 
under  the  suzerainty  of  Camboja.  This  arrangement  was  not 
successful  and  after  much  fighting  Champa  became  a  Khmer 
province  though  a  very  unruly  one  from  1203  till  1220.  Subse 
quently  the  aggressive  vigour  of  the  Khmers  was  tempered  by 
their  own  wars  with  Siam.  But  it  was  not  the  fate  of  Champa 
to  be  left  in  peace.  The  invasion  of  Khubilai  lasted  from  1278  to 
1285  and  in  1306  the  provinces  of  6  and  Ly  were  ceded  to  Annam. 

Champa  now  became  for  practical  purposes  an  Annamite 
province  and  in  1318  the  king  fled  to  Java  for  refuge.  This 
connection  with  Java  is  interesting  and  there  are  other  instances 
of  it.  King  Jaya  Simhavarman  III  (f  1307)  of  Champa  married 
a  Javanese  princess  called  Tapasi.  Later  we  hear  in  Javanese 
records  that  in  the  fifteenth  century  the  princess  Darawati  of 
Champa  married  the  king  of  Madjapahit  and  her  sister  married 
Raden  Radmat,  a  prominent  Moslim  teacher  in  Java1. 

The  power  of  the  Chams  was  crushed  by  Annam  in  1470. 
After  this  date  they  had  little  political  importance  but  continued 
to  exist  as  a  nationality  under  their  own  rulers.  In  1650  they 
revolted  against  Annam  without  success  and  the  king  was 
captured.  But  his  widow  was  accorded  a  titular  position  and  the 
Cham  chronicle2  continues  the  list  of  nominal  kings  down  to  1822. 

In  Champa,  as  in  Camboja,  no  books  dating  from  the  Hindu 
period  have  been  preserved  and  probably  there  were  not  many. 
The  Cham  language  appears  not  to  have  been  used  for  literary 
purposes  and  whatever  culture  existed  was  exclusively  Sanskrit. 
The  kings  are  credited  with  an  extensive  knowledge  of  Sanskrit 
literature.  An  inscription  at  Po-nagar3  (918  A. D.)  says  that  Sri 
Indravarman  was  acquainted  with  the  Mimamsa  and  other 

1  Veth.  Java,  I.  p.  233. 

2  See  "La  Chronique  Royale,"  B.E.F.E.O.  1905,  p.  377. 

3  Corpus,  ii.  p.  259.  Jinendra  may  be  a  name  either  of  the  Buddha  or  of  a  gram 
marian.  The  mention  of  the  KaSika  vritti  is  important  as  showing  that  this  work 
must  be  anterior  to  the  ninth  century.  The  Uttara  Kalpa  is  quoted  in  the  Tantras 
(see  Bergaigne's  note),  but  nothing  is  known  of  it. 


systems  of  philosophy,  Jinendra,  and  grammar  together  with 
the  Kasika  (vritti)  and  the  Saivottara-Kalpa.  Again  an  inscrip 
tion  of  Mi-son1  ascribes  to  Jaya  Indravarmadeva  (c.  1175  A.D.) 
proficiency  in  all  the  sciences  as  well  as  a  knowledge  of  the 
Mahayana  and  the  Dharmasastras,  particularly  the  Naradiya 
and  Bhargaviya.  To  some  extent  original  compositions  in 
Sanskrit  must  have  been  produced,  for  several  of  the  inscriptions 
are  of  considerable  length  and  one2  gives  a  quotation  from  a 
work  called  the  Puranartha  or  Arthapuranasastra  which  appears 
to  have  been  a  chronicle  of  Champa.  But  the  language  of  the 
inscriptions  is  often  careless  and  incorrect  and  indicates  that 
the  study  of  Sanskrit  was  less  flourishing  than  in  Camboja. 

The  monuments  of  Champa,  though  considerable  in  size  and 
number,  are  inferior  to  those  of  Camboja.  The  individual 
buildings  are  smaller  and  simpler  and  the  groups  into  which 
they  are  combined  lack  unity.  Brick  was  the  chief  material, 
stone  being  used  only  when  brick  would  not  serve,  as  for  statues 
and  lintels.  The  commonest  type  of  edifice  is  a  square  pyramidal 
structure  called  by  the  Chams  Kalan.  A  Kalan  is  as  a  rule 
erected  on  a  hill  or  rising  ground:  its  lowest  storey  has  on  the 
east  a  porch  and  vestibule,  on  the  other  three  sides  false  doors. 
The  same  shape  is  repeated  in  four  upper  storeys  of  decreasing 
size  which  however  serve  merely  for  external  decoration  and 
correspond  to  nothing  in  the  interior.  This  is  a  single  windowless 
pyramidal  cell  lighted  by  the  door  and  probably  also  by  lamps 
placed  in  niches  on  the  inner  walls.  In  the  centre  stood  a 
pedestal  for  a  linga  or  an  image,  with  a  channel  to  carry  off 
libations,  leading  to  a  spout  in  the  wall.  The  outline  of  the  tower 
is  often  varied  by  projecting  figures  or  ornaments,  but  the 
sculpture  is  less  lavish  than  in  Camboja  and  Java. 

In  the  greater  religious  sites  several  structures  are  grouped 
together.  A  square  wall  surrounds  an  enclosure  entered  by  a 
gateway  and  containing  one  or  more  Kalans,  as  well  as  smaller 
buildings,  probably  for  the  use  of  priests.  Before  the  gateway 
there  is  frequently  a  hall  supported  by  columns  but  open  at  the 

1  B.E.F  E.O.  1904,  p.  973. 

2  From  Mi-son,  date  1157  A.D.  See  B.E.F. E.O.  1904,  pp.  961  and  963. 

xxxix]  CHAMPA  143 

All  known  specimens  of  Cham  architecture  are  temples; 
palaces  and  other  secular  buildings  were  made  of  wood  and 
have  disappeared.  Of  the  many  sanctuaries  which  have  been 
discovered,  the  most  remarkable  are  those  of  Mi-son,  and  Dong 
Duong,  both  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Tourane,  and  Po  Nagar 
close  to  Nhatrang. 

Mi-son1  is  an  undulating  amphitheatre  among  mountains  and 
contains  eight  or  nine  groups  of  temples,  founded  at  different 
times.  The  earliest  structures,  erected  by  Bhadravarman  I 
about  400,  have  disappeared2  and  were  probably  of  wood,  since 
we  hear  that  they  were  burnt  (apparently  by  an  accident)  in 
575  A.D.  New  temples  were  constructed  by  Sambhuvarman 
about  twenty-five  years  later  and  were  dedicated  to  Sambhu- 
bhadresvara,  in  which  title  the  names  of  the  founder,  restorer 
and  the  deity  are  combined.  These  buildings,  of  which  portions 
remain,  represent  the  oldest  and  best  period  of  Cham  art. 
Another  style  begins  under  Vikrantavarman  I  between  657  and 
679  A.D.  This  reign  marks  a  period  of  decadence  and  though 
several  buildings  were  erected  at  Mi-son  during  the  eighth  and 
ninth  centuries,  the  locality  was  comparatively  neglected3  until 
the  reign  of  Harivarman  III  (1074^1080).  The  temples  had  been 
ravaged  by  the  Annamites  but  this  king,  being  a  successful 
warrior,  was  able  to  restore  them  and  dedicated  to  them  the 
booty  which  he  had  captured.  Though  his  reign  marks  a  period 
of  temporary  prosperity  in  the  annals  of  Champa,  the  style 
which  he  inaugurated  in  architecture  has  little  originality.  It 
reverts  to  the  ancient  forms  but  shows  conscious  archaism 
rather  than  fresh  vigour.  The  position  of  Mi-son,  however,  did 
not  decline  and  about  1155  Jaya  Harivarman  I  repaired  the 
buildings,  dedicated  the  booty  taken  in  battle  and  erected  a  new 
temple  in  fulfilment  of  a  vow.  But  after  this  period  the  princes 
of  Champa  had  no  authority  in  the  district  of  Mi-son,  and  the 
Annamites,  who  seem  to  have  disliked  the  religion  of  the  Chams, 
plundered  the  temples. 

1  =  Chinese  Mei  shan,  beautiful  mountain.   For  an  account  of  the  temples  and 
their  history  see  the  articles  by  Parmentier  and  Finot,  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  805- 

2  But  contemporary  inscriptions  have  been  discovered.    B.E.F.E.O.  1902,  pp. 
185  ff. 

3  Doubtless  because  the  capital  was  transferred  to  the  south  where  the  shrine  of 
Po-nagar  had  rival  claims. 


Ponagar1  is  near  the  port  of  Nha-trang  and  overlooks  the 
sea.  Being  smaller  that  Mi-son  it  has  more  unity  but  still  shows 
little  attempt  to  combine  in  one  architectural  whole  the  buildings 
of  which  it  is  composed. 

An  inscription2  states  with  curious  precision  that  the  shrine 
was  first  erected  in  the  year  5911  of  the  Dvapara  age  and  this 
fantastic  chronology  shows  that  in  our  tenth  century  it  was 
regarded  as  ancient.  As  at  Mi-son,  the  original  buildings  were 
probably  of  wood  for  in  774  they  were  sacked  and  burnt  by 
pirates  who  carried  off  the  image3.  Shortly  afterwards  they 
were  rebuilt  in  brick  by  King  Satyavarman  and  the  existing 
southern  tower  probably  dates  from  his  reign,  but  the  great 
central  tower  was  built  by  Harivarman  I  (817  A.D.)  and  the 
other  edifices  are  later. 

Po  Nagar  or  Yang  Po  Nagar  means  the  Lady  or  Goddess  of 
the  city.  She  was  commonly  called  Bhagavati  in  Sanskrit4  and 
appears  to  have  been  the  chief  object  of  worship  at  Nha-trang, 
although  Siva  was  associated  with  her  under  the  name  of 
Bhagavatisvara.  In  1050  an  ardhanari  image  representing  Siva 
and  Bhagavati  combined  in  one  figure  was  presented  to  the 
temple  by  King  Paramesvara  and  a  dedicatory  inscription 
describes  this  double  deity  as  the  cosmic  principle. 

When  Champa  was  finally  conquered  the  temple  was  sold  to 
the  Annamites,  who  admitted  that  they  could  not  acquire  it 
except  by  some  special  and  peaceful  arrangement.  Even  now 
they  still  continue  the  worship  of  the  goddess  though  they  no 
longer  know  who  she  is5. 

Dong  Duong,  about  twenty  kilometres  to  the  south  of  Mi-son, 
marks  the  site  of  the  ancient  capital  Indrapura.  The  monument 
which  has  made  its  name  known  differs  from  those  already 
described.  Compared  with  them  it  has  some  pretensions  to  be 
a  whole,  laid  out  on  a  definite  plan  and  it  is  Buddhist.  It 
consists  of  three  courts6  surrounded  by  walls  and  entered  by 
massive  porticoes.  In  the  third  there  are  about  twenty  buildings 

1  See  especially  the  article  by  Parmentier,  B.E.F.E.O.  1902,  pp.  17-54. 
3  XXVI  Corpus,  n.  pp.  244,  256;  date  918  A.D. 

3  &vamukham:  probably  a  mukhalinga. 

4  Also  Yapunagara  even  in  Sanskrit  inscriptions. 
6  Parmentier,  I.e.  p.  49. 

6  This  is  only  a  very  rough  description  of  a  rather  complicated  structure.  For 
details  see  Parmentier,  Monuments  dams,  planche  XCVHI. 

xxxix]  CHAMPA  145 

and  perhaps  it  did  not  escape  the  fault  common  to  Cham 
architecture  of  presenting  a  collection  of  disconnected  and  un 
related  edifices,  but  still  there  is  clearly  an  attempt  to  lead  up 
from  the  outermost  portico  through  halls  and  gateways  to  the 
principal  shrine.  From  an  inscription  dated  875  A. D.  we  learn 
that  the  ruins  are  those  of  a  temple  and  vihara  erected  by  King 
Indravarman  and  dedicated  to  Avalokita  under  the  name  of 
Lakshmindra  Lokesvara. 


The  religion  of  Champa  was  practically  identical  with  that 
of  Camboja.  If  the  inscriptions  of  the  former  tell  us  more  about 
mukhalingas  and  koshas  and  those  of  the  latter  have  more 
allusions  to  the  worship  of  the  compound  deity  Hari-hara,  this 
is  probably  a  matter  of  chance.  But  even  supposing  that 
different  cults  were  specially  prominent  at  different  places,  it 
seems  clear  that  all  the  gods  and  ceremonies  known  in  Camboja 
were  also  known  in  Champa  and  vice  versa.  In  both  countries 
the  national  religion  was  Hinduism,  mainly  of  the  Sivaite  type, 
accompanied  by  Mahayanist  Buddhism  which  occasionally  came 
to  the  front  under  royal  patronage.  In  both  any  indigenous 
beliefs  which  may  have  existed  did  not  form  a  separate  system. 
It  is  probable  however  that  the  goddess  known  at  Po-nagar  as 
Bhagavati  was  an  ancient  local  deity  worshipped  before  the 
Hindu  immigration  and  an  inscription  found  at  Mi-son  recom 
mends  those  whose  eyes  are  diseased  to  propitiate  Kuvera  and 
thus  secure  protection  against  Ekakshapingala,  "the  tawny 
one-eyed  (spirit)."  Though  this  goddess  or  demon  was  probably 
a  creation  of  local  fancy,  similar  identifications  of  Kali  with  the 
spirits  presiding  over  cholera,  smallpox,  etc.,  take  place  in 

The  social  system  was  theoretically  based  on  the  four  castes, 
but  Chinese  accounts  indicate  that  in  questions  of  marriage  and 
inheritance  older  ideas  connected  with  matriarchy  and  a  division 
into  clans  still  had  weight.  But  the  language  of  the  inscriptions 
is  most  orthodox.  King  Vikrantavarman1  quotes  with  approval 
the  saying  that  the  horse  sacrifice  is  the  best  of  good  deeds  and 
the  murder  of  a  Brahman  the  worst  of  sins.  Brahmans,  chap 
lains  (purohita),  pandits  and  ascetics  are  frequently  mentioned 

1  Inscrip.  at  Mi-son  of  658  A.D.  See  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  921. 


as  worthy  of  honour  and  gifts.  The  high  priest  or  royal  chaplain 
is  styled  Sriparamapurohita  but  it  does  not  appear  that  there 
was  a  sacerdotal  family  enjoying  the  unique  position  held  by 
the  Sivakaivalyas  in  Camboja.  The  frequent  changes  of  capital 
and  dynasty  in  Champa  were  unfavourable  to  continuity  in 
either  Church  or  State. 

Sivaism,  without  any  hostility  to  Vishnuism  or  Buddhism, 
was  the  dominant  creed.  The  earliest  known  inscription,  that  of 
Vo-can,  contains  indications  of  Buddhism,  but  three  others 
believed  to  date  from  about  400  A.D.  invoke  Siva  under  some 
such  title  as  Bhadresvara,  indicating  that  a  temple  had  been 
dedicated  to  him  by  King  Bhadravarman.  Thus  the  practice  of 
combining  the  names  of  a  king  and  his  patron  deity  in  one 
appellation  existed  in  Champa  at  this  early  date1.  It  is  also 
recorded  from  southern  India,  Camboja  and  Java.  Besides  Siva 
one  of  the  inscriptions  venerates,  though  in  a  rather  perfunctory 
manner,  Uma,  Brahma,  Vishnu  and  the  five  elements.  Several 
inscriptions2  give  details  of  Sivaite  theology  which  agree  with 
what  we  know  of  it  in  Camboja.  The  world  animate  and  in 
animate  is  an  emanation  from  Siva,  but  he  delivers  from  the 
world  those  who  think  of  him.  Meditation,  the  practice  of  Yoga, 
and  devotion  to  Siva  are  several  times  mentioned  with  approval3. 
He  abides  in  eight  forms  corresponding  to  his  eight  names 
Sarva,  Bhava,  Pasupati,  Isana,  Bhima,  Rudra,  Mahadeva,  and 
Ugra.  He  is  also,  as  in  Java,  Guru  or  the  teacher  and  he  has 
the  usual  mythological  epithets.  He  dances  in  lonely  places,  he 
rides  on  the  bull  Nandi,  is  the  slayer  of  Kama,  etc.  Though 
represented  by  figures  embodying  such  legends  he  was  most 
commonly  adored  under  the  form  of  the  linga  which  in  Champa 
more  than  elsewhere  came  to  be  regarded  as  not  merely 
symbolic  but  as  a  personal  god.  To  mark  this  individuality  it 
was  commonly  enclosed  in  a  metal  case  (kosha)  bearing  one  or 
more  human  faces4.  It  was  then  called  mukhalinga  and  the 

1  Other  examples  are  IndrabhadresVara,  Corpus,  n.  p.  208.  HarivarmesVara, 
B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  961. 

3  E.g.  B.E.F.E.O.  pp.  918  ff.   Dates  658  A.D.  onwards. 

3  Yogaddhyana,  Sivaradha,  Sivabhakti.    See  B.E.F.E.O.   1904,  pp.  933-950. 
Harivarman  III  abdicated  in  1080  and  gave  himself  up  to  contemplation  and 
devotion  to  Siva. 

4  See  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  912  ff.  and  esp.  p.  970.   I  have  seen  a  kosha  which 
is  still  in  use  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Badami.   It  is  kept  in  a  village  called  Nandike- 

xxxixj  CHAMPA  147 

faces  were  probably  intended  as  portraits  of  royal  donors, 
identified  with  the  god  in  form  as  well  as  in  name.  An  in 
scription  of  1163A.D.  records  the  dedication  of  such  a  kosha, 
adorned  with  five  royal  faces,  to  Srisanabhadresvara.  The  god, 
it  is  said,  will  now  be  able  to  give  his  blessing  to  all  regions 
through  his  five  mouths  which  he  could  not  do  before,  and  being 
enclosed  in  the  kosha,  like  an  embryo  in  the  matrix,  he  becomes 
Hiranyagarbha.  The  linga,  with  or  without  these  ornaments, 
was  set  on  a  sndnadroni  or  stone  table  arranged  for  receiving 
libations,  and  sometimes  (as  in  Java  and  Camboja)  four  or  more 
lingas  were  set  upon  a  single  slab.  From  A.D.  400  onwards,  the 
cult  of  Siva  seems  to  have  maintained  its  paramount  position 
during  the  whole  history  of  Champa,  for  the  last  recorded 
Sanskrit  inscription  is  dedicated  to  him.  From  first  to  last  it 
was  the  state  religion.  Siva  is  said  to  have  sent  Uroja  to  be  the 
first  king  and  is  even  styled  the  root  of  the  state  of  Champa. 

An  inscription1  of  81 1  A.D.  celebrates  the  dual  deity  Sankara- 
Narayana.  It  is  noticeable  that  Narayana  is  said  to  have  held 
up  Mt  Govardhana  and  is  apparently  identified  with  Krishna. 
Rama  and  Krishna  are  both  mentioned  in  an  inscription  of 
1157  which  states  that  the  whole  divinity  of  Vishnu  was 
incarnate  in  King  Jaya  Harivarman  I2.  But  neither  allusions 
to  Vishnu  nor  figures  of  him3  are  numerous  and  he  plays  the 
part  of  an  accessory  though  respected  personage.  Garuda,  on 
whom  he  rides,  was  better  known  than  the  god  himself  and  is 
frequently  represented  in  sculpture. 

The  Sakti  of  Siva,  amalgamated  as  mentioned  with  a  native 
goddess,  received  great  honour  (especially  at  Nhatrang)  under 
the  names  of  Uma,  Bhagavati,  the  Lady  of  the  city  (Yang  Po 
Nagar)  and  the  goddess  of  Kauthara.  In  another  form  or  aspect 

sVara,  but  on  certain  festivals  it  is  put  on  a  linga  at  the  temple  of  Mahakut. 
It  is  about  2  feet  high  and  10  inches  broad;  a  silver  case  with  a  rounded  and  orna 
mented  top.  On  one  side  is  a  single  face  in  bold  embossed  work  and  bearing  fine 
moustaches  exactly  as  in  the  mukhalingas  of  Champa.  In  the  tank  of  the  temple  of 
Mahakut  is  a  half  submerged  shrine,  from  which  rises  a  stone  linga  on  which  are 
carved  four  faces  bearing  moustaches.  There  is  said  to  be  a  gold  kosha  set  with 
jewels  at  Sringeri.  See  J.  Mythic.  Society  (Bangalore),  vol.  vm.  p.  27.  According  to 
Gopinatha  Rao,  Indian  Iconography,  vol.  n.  p.  63,  the  oldest  known  lingas  have 
figures  carved  on  them. 

1  Corpus,  n.  pp.  229,  230. 

2  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  959,  960. 

8  See  for  an  account  of  same  B.E.F.E.O.  1901,  p.  18. 


she  was  called  Maladakuthara1.  There  was  also  a  temple  of 
Ganesa  (Sri-Vinayaka)  at  Nhatrang  but  statues  of  this  deity 
and  of  Skanda  are  rare. 

The  Chinese  pilgrim  I-Ching,  writing  in  the  last  year  of  the 
seventh  century,  includes  Champa  (Lin-I)  in  the  list  of  countries 
which  "greatly  reverence  the  three  jewels"  and  contrasts  it 
with  Fu-nan  where  a  wicked  king  had  recently  almost  exter 
minated  Buddhism.  He  says  "In  this  country  Buddhists 
generally  belong  to  the  Arya-sammiti  school,  and  there  are  also 
a  few  followers  of  the  Aryasarvastivadin  school."  The  statement 
is  remarkable,  for  he  also  tells  us  that  the  Sarvastivadins  were 
the  predominant  sect  in  the  Malay  Archipelago  and  flourished 
in  southern  China.  The  headquarters  of  the  Sammitiyas  were, 
according  to  the  accounts  of  both  Hsiian  Chuang  and  I-Ching, 
in  western  India  though,  like  the  three  other  schools,  they  were 
also  found  in  Magadha  and  eastern  India.  We  also  hear  that 
the  brother  and  sister  of  the  Emperor  Harsha  belonged  to  this 
sect  and  it  was  probably  influential.  How  it  spread  to  Champa 
we  do  not  know,  nor  do  the  inscriptions  mention  its  name  or 
indicate  that  the  Buddhism  which  they  knew  was  anything  but 
the  mixture  of  the  Mahayana  with  Sivaism2  which  prevailed  in 

I-Ching's  statements  can  hardly  be  interpreted  to  mean  that 
Buddhism  was  the  official  religion  of  Champa  at  any  rate  after 
400  A.D.,  for  the  inscriptions  abundantly  prove  that  the  Sivaite 
shrines  of  Mi-son  and  Po-nagar  were  so  to  speak  national 
cathedrals  where  the  kings  worshipped  on  behalf  of  the  country. 
But  the  Vo-can  inscription  (?  250  A.D.),  though  it  does  not 
mention  Buddhism,  appears  to  be  Buddhist,  and  it  would  be 
quite  natural  that  a  dynasty  founded  about  150  A.D.  should  be 
Buddhist  but  that  intercourse  with  Camboja  and  probably  with 
India  should  strengthen  Sivaism.  The  Chinese  annals  mention3 
that  1350  Buddhist  books  were  carried  off  during  a  Chinese 
invasion  in  605  A.D.  and  this  allusion  implies  the  existence  of 
Buddhism  and  monasteries  with  libraries.  As  hi  Camboja  it  was 

1  Corpus,  n.  p.  282. 

2  In  several  passages  Hsiian  Chuang  notes  that  there  were  PaSupatas  or  other 
Sivaites  in  the  same  towns  of  India  where  Sammitiyas  were  found.   See  Watters, 
Yuan  Chwang,  i.  331,  333;  n.  47,  242,  256,  258,  259. 

3  Maspero,  T&ung  Poo,  1910,  p.  514. 

xxxix]  CHAMPA  149 

perhaps  followed  by  ministers  rather  than  by  kings.  An 
inscription  found1  in  southern  Champa  and  dated  as  829  A.D. 
records  how  a  sthavira  named  Buddhanirvana  erected  two 
viharas  and  two  temples  (devakula)  to  Jina  and  Sankara 
(Buddha  and  Siva)  in  honour  of  his  deceased  father.  Shortly 
afterwards  there  came  to  the  throne  Indravarman  II  (860-890 
A.D.),  the  only  king  of  Champa  who  is  known  to  have  been  a 
fervent  Buddhist.  He  did  not  fail  to  honour  Siva  as  the  patron 
of  his  kingdom  but  like  Asoka  he  was  an  enthusiast  for  the 
Dharma2.  He  desires  the  knowledge  of  the  Dharma:  he  builds 
monasteries  for  the  sake  of  the  Dharma :  he  wishes  to  propagate 
it:  he  even  says  that  the  king  of  the  gods  governs  heaven  by 
the  principles  of  Dharma.  He  wishes  to  lead  all  his  subjects  to 
the  "yoke  and  abode  of  Buddha,"  to  "the  city  of  deliverance." 

To  this  end  he  founded  the  vihara  of  Dong  Duong,  already 
described,  and  dedicated  it  to  Sri  Lakshmindra  Lokesvara3. 
This  last  word  is  a  synonym  of  Avalokita,  which  also  occurs 
in  the  dedicatory  inscription  but  in  a  fragmentary  passage. 
Lakshmindra  is  explained  by  other  passages  in  the  inscription 
from  which  we  learn  that  the  king's  name  before  he  ascended 
the  throne  was  Lakshmindra  Bhumisvara,  so  that  the  Bodhi- 
sattva  is  here  adored  under  the  name  of  the  king  who  erected 
the  vihara  according  to  the  custom  prevalent  in  Sivaite  temples. 
Like  those  temples  this  vihara  received  an  endowment  of  land  and 
slaves  of  both  sexes,  as  well  as  gold,  silver  and  other  metals4. 

A  king  who  reigned  from  1080  to  1086  was  called  Parama- 
bodhisattva,  but  no  further  epigraphic  records  of  Buddhism  are 
known  until  the  reigns  of  Jaya  Indravarmadeva  (1167-1192) 
and  his  successor  Suryavarmadeva6.  Both  of  these  monarchs, 
while  worshipping  Siva,  are  described  as  knowing  or  practising 
the  jnana  or  dharma  of  the  Mahay  ana.  Little  emphasis  seems 
to  be  laid  on  these  expressions  but  still  they  imply  that  the 

1  At  Yang  Kur.  See  Corpus,  u.  pp.  237-241. 

2  For  his  views  see  his  inscriptions  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  85  ff.  But  kings  who 
are  not  known  to  have  been  Buddhists  also  speak  of  Dharma.    B.E.F.E.O.  1904, 
pp.  922,  945. 

3  Apparently  special  forms  of  deities  such  as  J§ri6anabhadresVara  or  Lakshminda 
LokesVara  were  regarded  as  to  some  extent  separate  existences.  Thus  the  former 
is  called  a  portion  of  Siva,  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  973. 

*  Presumably  in  the  form  of  vessels. 

*  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  973-975. 

150  BUDDHISM  OUTSIDE  INDIA      [OH.  xxxix 

Mahayana  was  respected  and  considered  part  of  the  royal 
religion.  Suryavarmadeva  erected  a  building  called  Sri  Heruka- 
harmya1.  The  title  is  interesting  for  it  contains  the  name  of  the 
Tantric  Buddha  Heruka. 

The  grotto  of  Phong-nha2  in  the  extreme  north  of  Champa 
(province  of  Quang  Binh)  must  have  been  a  Buddhist  shrine. 
Numerous  medallions  in  clay  bearing  representations  of  Buddhas, 
Bodhisattvas  and  Dagobas  have  been  found  there  but  dates  are 

It  does  not  appear  that  the  Hinayanist  influence  which 
became  predominant  in  Camboja  extended  to  Champa.  That 
influence  came  from  Siam  and  before  it  had  time  to  traverse 
Camboja,  Champa  was  already  in  the  grip  of  the  Annamites, 
whose  religion  with  the  rest  of  their  civilization  came  from  China 
rather  than  India.  Chinese  culture  and  writing  spread  to  the 
Cambojan  frontier  and  after  the  decay  of  Champa,  Camboja 
marks  the  permanent  limit  within  which  an  Indian  alphabet 
and  a  form  of  Buddhism  not  derived  through  China  have 
maintained  themselves. 

A  large  number  of  the  Chams  were  converted  to  Moham 
medanism  but  the  time  and  circumstances  of  the  event  are 
unknown.  When  Friar  Gabriel  visited  the  country  at  the  end 
of  the  sixteenth  century  a  form  of  Hinduism  seems  to  have  been 
still  prevalent3.  It  would  be  of  interest  to  know  how  the  change 
of  religion  was  effected,  for  history  repeats  itself  and  it  is  likely 
that  the  Moslims  arrived  in  Champa  by  the  route  followed 
centuries  before  by  the  Hindu  invaders. 

There  are  still  about  130,000  Chams  in  the  south  of  Annam 
and  Camboja.  In  the  latter  country  they  are  all  Mohammedans. 
In  Annam  some  traces  of  Hinduism  remain,  such  as  mantras  in 
broken  Sanskrit  and  hereditary  priests  called  Basaih.  Both 
religions  have  become  unusually  corrupt  but  are  interesting  as 
showing  how  beliefs  which  are  radically  distinct  become  dis 
torted  and  combined  in  Eastern  Asia4. 

1  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  975. 

2  76.  1901,  p.  23,  and  Parmentier,  Inventaire  des  Monuments  Chams,  p.  542. 

3  Gabriel  de  San  Antonio,  Breve  y  verdadera  relation  de  los  successes  de  Reyno  de 
Camboxa,  1604. 

4  See  for  the  modern  Chams  the  article  "Chams"  in  E.R.E.  and  Ethics,  and 
Durand,  "Les  Chains  Bani,"  B.E.F.E.O.  1903,  and  "Notes  sur  les  Chams,"  ib. 


IN  most  of  the  countries  which  we  have  been  considering,  the 
native  civilization  of  the  present  day  is  still  Indian  in  origin, 
although  in  the  former  territories  of  Champa  this  Indian  phase 
has  been  superseded  by  Chinese  culture  with  a  little  Moham 
medanism.  But  in  another  area  we  find  three  successive  stages 
of  culture,  indigenous,  Indian  and  Mohammedan.  This  area 
includes  the  Malay  Peninsula  with  a  large  part  of  the  Malay 
Archipelago,  and  the  earliest  stratum  with  which  we  need  con 
cern  ourselves  is  Malay.  The  people  who  bear  this  name  are 
remarkable  for  their  extraordinary  powers  of  migration  by  sea, 
as  shown  by  the  fact  that  languages  connected  with  Malay 
are  spoken  in  Formosa  and  New  Zealand,  in  Easter  Island  and 
Madagascar,  but  their  originality  both  in  thought  and  in  the 
arts  of  life  is  small.  The  three  stages  are  seen  most  clearly 
in  Java  where  the  population  was  receptive  and  the  interior 
accessible.  Sumatra  and  Borneo  also  passed  through  them  in 
a  fashion  but  the  indigenous  element  is  still  predominant  and 
no  foreign  influence  has  been  able  to  affect  either  island  as  a 
whole.  Islam  gained  no  footing  in  Bali  which  remains  curiously 
Hindu  but  it  reached  Celebes  and  the  southern  Philippines,  in 
both  of  which  Indian  influence  was  slight1.  The  destiny  of  south 
eastern  Asia  with  its  islands  depends  on  the  fact  that  the  tide 
of  trade  and  conquest  whether  Hindu,  Moslim  or  European, 
flowed  from  India  or  Ceylon  to  the  Malay  Peninsula  and  Java 
and  thence  northwards  towards  China  with  a  reflux  westwards  in 
Champa  and  Camboja.  Burma  and  Siam  lay  outside  this  track. 
They  received  their  culture  from  India  mainly  by  land  and  were 
untouched  by  Mohammedanism.  But  the  Mohammedan  current 

1  I  have  not  been  able  to  find  anything  more  than  casual  and  second-hand 
statements  to  the  effect  that  Indian  antiquities  have  been  found  in  these  islands. 


which  affected  the  Malays  was  old  and  continuous.  It  started 
from  Arabia  in  the  early  days  of  the  Hijra  and  had  nothing  to 
do  with  the  Moslim  invasions  which  entered  India  by  land. 

Indian  civilization  appears  to  have  existed  in  Java  from  at 
least  the  fifth  century  of  our  era1.  Much  light  has  been  thrown 
on  its  history  of  late  by  the  examination  of  inscriptions  and  of 
fairly  ancient  literature  but  the  record  still  remains  fragmentary. 
There  are  considerable  gaps :  the  seat  of  power  shifted  from  one 
district  to  another  and  at  most  epochs  the  whole  island  was  not 
subject  to  one  ruler,  so  that  the  title  king  of  Java  merely 
indicates  a  prince  pre-eminent  among  others  doubtfully  sub 
ordinate  to  him. 

The  name  Java  is  probably  the  Sanskrit  Yava  used  in  the 
sense  of  grain,  especially  millet.  In  the  Ramayana2  the  monkeys 
of  Hanuman  are  bidden  to  seek  for  Sita  in  various  places  in 
cluding  Yava-dvipa,  which  contains  seven  kingdoms  and  pro 
duces  gold  and  silver.  Others  translate  these  last  words  as 
referring  to  another  or  two  other  islands  known  as  Gold  and 
Silver  Land.  It  is  probable  that  the  poet  did  not  distinguish 
clearly  between  Java  and  Sumatra.  He  goes  on  to  say  that 
beyond  Java  is  the  peak  called  Sisira.  This  is  possibly  the  same 
as  the  Yavakoti  mentioned  in  499  A.D.  by  the  Indian  astronomer 

1  There  is  no  lack  of  scholarly  and  scientific  works  about  Java,  but  they  are 
mostly  written  in  Dutch  and  dissertations  on  special  points  are  more  numerous 
than  general  surveys  of  Javanese  history,  literature  and  architecture.   Perhaps  the 
best  general  account  of  the  Hindu  period  in  Java  will  be  found  in  the  chapter  con 
tributed  by  Kern  to  the  publication  called  Neerlands  Indie  (Amsterdam,  1911, 
chap.  vi.  n.  pp.  219-242).  The  abundant  publications  of  the  Bataviaasch  Genoot- 
schap  van  Kunsten  en  Wetenschappen  comprise  Verhandelingen,  Notulen,  and  the 
Tijdschrift  voor  Indische  Taal-,  Land-,  en  Volkenkunde  (cited  here  as  Tijdschrift), 
all  of  which  contain  numerous  and  important  articles  on  history,  philology,  religion 
and  archaeology.  The  last  is  treated  specially  in  the  publications  called  Archaeo- 
logisch  Onderzoek  op  Java  en  Madura.   Veth's  Java,  vols.  I.  and  iv.  and  various 
articles  in  the  Encyclopaedic  van  Nederlandsch-Indie  may  also  be  consulted.   I  have 
endeavoured  to  mention  the  more  important  editions  of  Javanese  books  as  well  as 
works  dealing  specially  with  the  old  religion  in  the  notes  to  these  chapters. 

Although  Dutch  orthography  is  neither  convenient  nor  familiar  to  most  readers 
I  have  thought  it  better  to  preserve  it  in  transcribing  Javanese.  In  this  system  of 
transcription  j-=y;  tj  =ch;  dj  =j;  sj  =sh;  w=v;  oe  =  u. 

2  Ram.  iv.  40,  30.  Yavadvipam  saptarajyopasobhitam  Suvarnarupyakadvipam 


Since  the  Ramayana  is  a  product  of  gradual  growth  it  is 
not  easy  to  assign  a  definite  date  to  this  passage,  but  it  is 
probably  not  later  than  the  first  or  second  century  A.D.  and  an 
early  date  is  rendered  probable  by  the  fact  that  the  Alexandrian 
Geographer  Ptolemy  (c.  130  A.D.)  mentions1  N^crc?  'laftaSiov  rj 
'ZajSaSiov  and  by  various  notices  collected  from  inscriptions  and 
from  Chinese  historians.  The  annals  of  the  Liang  Dynasty 
(502-556  A.D.)  in  speaking  of  the  countries  of  the  Southern 
Ocean  say  that  in  the  reign  of  Hsiian  Ti  (73-49  B.C.)  the 
Romans  and  Indians  sent  envoys  to  China  by  that  route2,  thus 
indicating  that  the  Archipelago  was  frequented  by  Hindus.  The 
same  work  describes  under  the  name  of  Lang-ya-hsiu  a  country 
which  professed  Buddhism  and  used  the  Sanskrit  language  and 
states  that  "the  people  say  that  their  country  was  established 
more  than  400  years  ago3."  Lang-ya-hsiu  has  been  located  by 
some  in  Java  by  others  in  the  Malay  Peninsula,  but  even  on  the 
latter  supposition  this  testimony  to  Indian  influence  in  the  Far 
East  is  still  important.  An  inscription  found  at  Kedah  in  the 
Malay  Peninsula  is  believed  to  be  older  than  400  A.D.4  No 
more  definite  accounts  are  forthcoming  before  the  fifth  or  sixth 
century.  Fa-Hsien5  relates  how  in  418  he  returned  to  China 
from  India  by  sea  and  "arrived  at  a  country  called  Ya-va-di." 
"In  this  country"  he  says  "heretics  and  Brahmans  flourish  but 
the  law  of  Buddha  hardly  deserves  mentioning6."  Three  in 
scriptions  found  in  west  Java  in  the  district  of  Buitenzorg  are 
referred  for  palseographic  reasons  to  about  400  A.D.  They  are 
all  in  Sanskrit  and  eulogize  a  prince  named  Purnavarman,  who 
appears  to  have  been  a  Vishnuite.  The  name  of  his  capital  is 

1  Ptolemy's  Geography,  vn.  2.  29  (see  also  vm.  27,  10).   'lafiadlov  (T)  Z 
6  o"r)/j.alvei  Kpidrjs,  vrjffos.    Ei)0opwrdr77  de  X^-yercu  17  vfjffo?  elvai  Ka.1  £n  TT\€L< 
TroietJ',  ZX€LV  T€  wrpbiroKtv  OVO/J.CL  'A.pyvprjv  £TTL  rois  Si'tr/xi/tots  Trtpaatv. 

2  The  Milinda  Panha  of  doubtful  but  not  very  late  date  also  mentions  voyages 
to  China. 

3  Groeneveldt,  Notes  on  the  Malay  Archipelago  compiled  from  Chinese  sources, 
1876  (cited  below  as  Groeneveldt),  p.  10.    Confirmed  by  the  statement  in  the  Ming 
annals  book  324  that  in  1432  the  Javanese  said  their  kingdom  had  been  founded 
1376  years  before. 

4  Kern  in  Versl.  en  Med.  K.  Ak.  v.  W.  Afd.  Lett.  3  Rks.  i.  1884,  pp.  5-12. 
6  Chap.  XL.   Legge,  p.  113,  and  Groeneveldt,  pp.  6-9. 

8  He  perhaps  landed  in  the  present  district  of  Rembang  "where  according  to 
native  tradition  the  first  Hindu  settlement  was  situated  at  that  time"  (Groeneveldt, 
p.  9). 


deciphered  as  Naruma  or  Taruma.  In  435  according  to  the  Liu 
Sung  annals1  a  king  of  Ja-va-da  named  Shih-li-pa-da-do-a-la-pa- 
mo  sent  tribute  to  China.  The  king's  name  probably  represents 
a  Sanskrit  title  beginning  with  Sri-Pada  and  it  is  noticeable  that 
two  footprints  are  carved  on  the  stones  which  bear  Purnavarman's 
inscriptions.  Also  Sanskrit  inscriptions  found  at  Koetei  on  the 
east  coast  of  Borneo  and  considered  to  be  not  later  than  the 
fifth  century  record  the  piety  and  gifts  to  Brahmans  of  a  King 
Mulavarman  and  mention  his  father  and  grandfather2. 

It  follows  from  these  somewhat  disjointed  facts  that  the 
name  of  Yava-dvipa  was  known  in  India  soon  after  the  Christian 
era,  and  that  by  the  fifth  century  Hindu  or  hinduized  states 
had  been  established  in  Java.  The  discovery  of  early  Sanskrit 
inscriptions  in  Borneo  and  Champa  confirms  the  presence  of 
Hindus  in  these  seas.  The  T'ang  annals3  speak  definitely  of 
Kaling,  otherwise  called  Java,  as  lying  between  Sumatra  and 
Bali  and  say  that  the  inhabitants  have  letters  and  under 
stand  a  little  astronomy.  They  further  mention  the  presence  of 
Arabs  and  say  that  in  674  a  queen  named  Sima  ascended  the 
throne  and  ruled  justly. 

But  the  certain  data  for  Javanese  history  before  the  eighth 
century  are  few.  For  that  period  we  have  some  evidence  from 
Java  itself.  An  inscription  dated  654  Saka  (=  732  A. D.)  dis 
covered  in  Kedoe  celebrates  the  praises  of  a  king  named 
Sanjaya,  son  of  King  Sanna.  It  contains  an  account  of  the 
dedication  of  a  linga,  invocations  of  Siva,  Brahma  and  Vishnu, 
a  eulogy  of  the  king's  virtue  and  learning,  and  praise  of  Java. 
Thus  about  700  A.D.  there  was  a  Hindu  kingdom  in  mid  Java 
and  this,  it  would  seem,  was  then  the  part  of  the  island  most 
important  politically.  Buddhist  inscriptions  of  a  somewhat  later 
date  (one  is  of  778  A.D.)  have  been  found  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  Prambanam.  They  are  written  in  the  Nagari  alphabet  and 
record  various  pious  foundations.  A  little  later  again  (809  and 
840  A.D.)  are  the  inscriptions  found  on  the  Dieng  (Dihyang),  a 

1  Groeneveldt,  p.  9.  The  transcriptions  of  Chinese  characters  given  in  the  follow 
ing  pages  do  not  represent  the  modern  sound  but  seem  justified  (though  they  cannot 
be  regarded  as  certain)  by  the  instances  collected  in  Julien's  Methode  pour  dechijfrer 
et  transcrire  les  noms  sanscrits.    Possibly  the  syllables  Do-a-lo-pa-mo  are  partly 
corrupt  and  somehow  or  other  represent  Purnavarman. 

2  Kern  in  Versl.  en  Meded.  Afd.  Lett.  2  R.  xi.  D.  1882. 

3  Groeneveldt,  pp.  12,  13. 


lonely  mountain  plateau  on  which  are  several  Brahmanic 
shrines  in  fair  preservation.  There  is  no  record  of  their  builders 
but  the  NewT'ang  Annals  say  that  the  royal  residence  was  called 
Java  but  "on  the  mountains  is  the  district  Lang-pi-ya  where 
the  king  frequently  goes  to  look  at  the  sea1."  This  may  possibly 
be  a  reference  to  pilgrimages  to  Dieng.  The  inscriptions  found 
on  the  great  monument  of  Boroboedoer  throw  no  light  on  the 
circumstances  of  its  foundation,  but  the  character  of  the  writing 
makes  it  likely  that  it  was  erected  about  850  and  obviously  by 
a  king  who  could  command  the  services  of  numerous  workmen 
as  well  as  of  skilled  artists.  The  temples  of  Prambanam  are 
probably  to  be  assigned  to  the  next  century.  All  these  buildings 
indicate  the  existence  from  the  eighth  to  the  tenth  century  of 
a  considerable  kingdom  (or  perhaps  kingdoms)  in  middle  Java, 
comprising  at  least  the  regions  of  Mataram,  Kedoe  and  the 
Dieng  plateau.  From  the  Arabic  geographers  also  we  learn  that 
Java  was  powerful  in  the  ninth  century  and  attacked  Qamar 
(probably  Khmer  or  Camboja).  They  place  the  capital  at  the 
mouth  of  a  river,  perhaps  the  Solo  or  Brantas.  If  so,  there 
must  have  been  a  principality  in  east  Java  at  this  period.  This 
is  not  improbable  for  archaeological  evidence  indicates  that 
Hindu  civilization  moved  eastwards  and  flourished  first  in  the 
west,  then  in  mid  Java  and  finally  from  the  ninth  to  the  fifteenth 
centuries  in  the  east. 

The  evidence  at  our  disposal  points  to  the  fact  that  Java 
received  most  of  its  civilization  from  Hindu  colonists,  but  who 
were  these  colonists  and  from  what  part  of  India  did  they  come  ? 
We  must  not  think  of  any  sudden  and  definite  conquest,  but 
rather  of  a  continuous  current  of  immigration  starting  perhaps 
from  several  springs  and  often  merely  trickling,  but  occasionally 
swelling  into  a  flood.  Native  traditions  collected  by  Raffles2 
ascribe  the  introduction  of  Brahmanism  and  the  Saka  era  to 
the  sage  Tritresta  and  represent  the  invaders  as  coming  from 
Kalinga  or  from  Gujarat. 

The  difference  of  locality  may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  there 
was  a  trade  route  running  from  Broach  to  Masulipatam  through 
Tagara  (now  Ter).  People  arriving  in  the  Far  East  by  this  route 
might  be  described  as  coming  either  from  Kalinga,  where  they 

1  Groeneveldt,  p.  14. 

a  History  of  Java,  vol.  II.  chap.  x. 

£.  III. 

1  1 


embarked,  or  from  Gujarat,  their  country  of  origin.  Dubious 
as  is  the  authority  of  these  legends,  they  perhaps  preserve  the 
facts  in  outline.  The  earliest  Javanese  inscriptions  are  written 
in  a  variety  of  the  Vengi  script  and  the  T'ang  annals  call  the 
island  Kaling  as  well  as  Java.  It  is  therefore  probable  that 
early  tradition  represented  Kalinga  as  the  home  of  the  Hindu 
invaders.  But  later  immigrants  may  have  come  from  other 
parts.  Fa-Hsien  could  find  no  Buddhists  in  Java  in  418,  but 
Indian  forms  of  Mahayanism  indubitably  flourished  there  in 
later  centuries.  The  Kalasan  inscription  dated  778  A.D.  and 
engraved  in  Nagari  characters  records  the  erection  of  a  temple 
to  Tara  and  of  a  Mahayanist  monastery.  The  change  in  both 
alphabet  and  religion  suggests  the  arrival  of  new  influences  from 
another  district  and  the  Javanese  traditions  about  Gujarat  are 
said  to  find  an  echo  among  the  bards  of  western  India  and  in 
such  proverbs  as,  they  who  go  to  Java  come  not  back1.  In  the 
period  of  the  Hunnish  and  Arab  invasions  there  may  have  been 
many  motives  for  emigration  from  Gujarat.  The  land  route  to 
Kalinga  was  probably  open  and  the  sea  route  offers  no  great 

Another  indication  of  connection  with  north-western  India 
is  found  in  the  Chinese  work  Kao  Seng  Chuan  (5 19  A.D.)  or 
Biographies  of  Eminent  Monks,  if  the  country  there  called 
She-p'o  can  be  identified  with  Java3.  It  is  related  that  Guna- 
varman,  son  of  the  king  of  Kashmir,  became  a  monk  and, 
declining  the  throne,  went  first  to  Ceylon  and  then  to  the 
kingdom  of  She-p'o,  which  he  converted  to  Buddhism.  He  died 
at  Nanking  in  431  B.C. 

Taranatha4  states  that  Indo-China  which  he  calls  the  Koki 
country5,  was  first  evangelized  in  the  time  of  Asoka  and  that 

1  Jackson,  Java  and  Cambodja.  App.  IV.  in  Bombay  Gazetteer,  vol.  i.  part  1, 1896. 

2  It  is  also  possible  that  when  the  Javanese  traditions  speak  of  Kaling  they 
mean  the  Malay  Peninsula.     Indians  in  those  regions  were  commonly  known  as 
Kaling  because  they  came  from  Kalinga  and  in  time  the  parts  of  the  Peninsula 
where  they  were  numerous  were  also  called  Kaling. 

3  See  for  this  question  Pelliot  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  274  ff.    Also  Schlegel  in 
Toung  Pao,  1899,  p.  247,  and  Chavannes,  ib.  1904,  p.  192. 

4  Chap,  xxxix.   Schiefner,  p.  262. 

6  Though  he  expressly  includes  Camboja  and  Champa  in  Koki,  it  is  only  right 
to  say  that  he  mentions  Nas-gling  (  =  Yava-dvipa)  separately  in  another  enumeration 
together  with  Ceylon.  But  if  Buddhists  passed  in  any  numbers  from  India  to  Camboja 
and  vice  versa,  they  probably  appeared  in  Java  about  the  same  time,  or  rather  later. 

XL]       JAVA  AND  THE  MALAY  ARCHIPELAGO        157 

Mahayanism  was  introduced  there  by  the  disciples  of  Vasu- 
bandhu,  who  probably  died  about  360  A. D.,  so  that  the  activity  of 
his  followers  would  take  place  in  the  fifth  century.  He  also  says 
that  many  clergy  from  the  Koki  country  were  in  Madhyadesa 
from  the  time  of  Dharmapala  (about  800  A.D.)  onwards,  and 
these  two  statements,  if  they  can  be  accepted,  certainly  explain 
the  character  of  Javanese  and  Cambojan  Buddhism.  Taranatha 
is  a  confused  and  untrustworthy  writer,  but  his  statement  about 
the  disciples  of  Vasubandhu  is  confirmed  by  the  fact  that 
Dignaga,  who  was  one  of  them,  is  the  only  authority  cited  in 
the  Kamahayanikan1. 

The  fact  that  the  terms  connected  with  rice  cultivation  are 
Javanese  and  not  loan-words  indicates  that  the  island  had  some 
indigenous  civilization  when  the  Hindus  first  settled  there. 
Doubtless  they  often  came  with  military  strength,  but  on  the 
whole  as  colonists  and  teachers  rather  than  as  conquerors.  The 
Javanese  kings  of  whom  we  know  most  appear  to  have  been 
not  members  of  Hindu  dynasties  but  native  princes  who  had 
adopted  Hindu  culture  and  religion.  Sanskrit  did  not  oust 
Javanese  as  the  language  of  epigraphy,  poetry  and  even  religious 
literature.  Javanese  Buddhism  appears  to  have  preserved  its 
powers  of  growth  and  to  have  developed  some  special  doctrines. 
But  Indian  influence  penetrated  almost  all  institutions  and  is 
visible  even  to-day.  Its  existence  is  still  testified  to  by  the 
alphabet  in  use,  by  such  titles  as  Arjo,  Radja,  Praboe,  Dipati 
(=  adhipati),  and  by  various  superstitions  about  lucky  days  and 
horoscopes.  Communal  land  tenure  of  the  Indian  kind  still 
exists  and  in  former  times  grants  of  land  were  given  to  priests 
and,  as  in  India,  recorded  on  copper  plates.  Offerings  to  old 
statues  are  still  made  and  the  Tenggerese2  are  not  even  nominal 
Mohammedans.  The  Balinese  still  profess  a  species  of  Hinduism 
and  employ  a  Hindu  Calendar. 

From  the  tenth  century  onwards  the  history  of  Java  becomes 
a  little  plainer. 

Copper  plates  dating  from  about  900  A.D.  mention  Mataram. 
A  certain  Mpoe  Sindok  was  vizier  of  this  kingdom  in  919,  but 
ten  years  later  we  find  him  an  independent  king  in  east  Java. 

1  See  Kamaha.  pp.  9,  10,  and  Walters,  Yuan  Chwang,  n.  pp.  209-214. 

2  They  preserve  to  some  extent  the  old  civilization  of  Madjapahit.    See  the 
article  "Tengereezen"  in  Encyclopaedic  van  Nederlandsch-Indie. 


He  lived  at  least  twenty-five  years  longer  and  his  possessions 
included  Pasoeroean,  Soerabaja  and  Kediri.  His  great-grandson, 
Er-langga  (or  Langghya),  is  an  important  figure.  Er-langga's 
early  life  was  involved  in  war,  but  in  1032  he  was  able  to  call 
himself,  though  perhaps  not  with  great  correctness,  king  of  all 
Java.  His  memory  has  not  endured  among  the  Javanese  but  is 
still  honoured  in  the  traditions  of  Bali  and  Javanese  literature 
began  in  his  reign  or  a  little  earlier.  The  poem  Arjuna-vivaha  is 
dedicated  to  him,  and  one  book  of  the  old  Javanese  prose 
translation  of  the  Mahabharata  bears  a  date  equivalent  to 
996  A.D.1 

One  of  the  national  heroes  of  Java  is  Djajabaja2  who  is 
supposed  to  have  lived  in  the  ninth  century.  But  tradition 
must  be  wrong  here,  for  the  free  poetic  rendering  of  part  of  the 
Mahabharata  called  Bharata-Yuddha,  composed  by  Mpoe  Sedah 
in  1157  A.D.,  is  dedicated  to  him,  and  his  reign  must  therefore 
be  placed  later  than  the  traditional  date.  He  is  said  to  have 
founded  the  kingdom  of  Daha  in  Kediri,  but  his  inscriptions 
merely  indicate  that  he  was  a  worshipper  of  Vishnu.  Literature 
and  art  flourished  in  east  Java  at  this  period  for  it  would  seem 
that  the  Kawi  Ramayana  and  an  ars  poetica  called  Vritta- 
sancaya3  were  written  about  1150  and  that  the  temple  of 
Panataran  was  built  between  1150  and  1175. 

In  western  Java  we  have  an  inscription  of  1030  found  on 
the  river  Tjitjatih.  It  mentions  a  prince  who  is  styled  Lord  of 
the  World  and  native  tradition,  confirmed  by  inscriptions, 
which  however  give  few  details,  relates  that  in  the  twelfth 
century  a  kingdom  called  Padjadjaran  was  founded  in  the 
Soenda  country  south  of  Batavia  by  princes  from  Toemapel  in 
eastern  Java. 

There  is  a  gap  in  Javanese  history  from  the  reign  of  Djajabaja 
till  1222  at  which  date  the  Pararaton4,  or  Book  of  the  Kings  of 
Toemapel  and  Madjapahit,  begins  to  furnish  information.  The 
Sung  annals5  also  give  some  account  of  the  island  but  it  is  not 

1  See  Kern,  Kaivi-studien  Arjuna-vivdJia,  1.  and  u.  1871.  Juynboll,  Drie  Boeken 
van  het  oudjavaansche  Mahdbhdrata,  1893,  and  id.  Wirdtaparwwa,  1912.  This  last  is 
dated  Saka  918  =996  A.D. 

a  Or  Jayabaya. 

8  See  Rdmdyana.  Oudjavaansche  Heldendicht,  edited  Kern,  1900,  and  Wrtta 
Sancaya,  edited  and  translated  by  the  same,  1875. 

4  Composed  in  1613  A.D.  6  Groeneveldt,  p.  14. 


clear  to  what  years  their  description  refers.  They  imply,  however, 
that  there  was  an  organized  government  and  that  commerce 
was  flourishing.  They  also  state  that  the  inhabitants  "pray  to 
the  gods  and  Buddha":  that  Java  was  at  war  with  eastern 
Sumatra:  that  embassies  were  sent  to  China  in  992  and  1109 
and  that  in  1129  the  Emperor  gave  the  ruler  of  Java  (probably 
Djajabaja)  the  title  of  king. 

The  Pararaton  opens  with  the  fall  of  Daha  in  1222  which 
made  Toemapel,  known  later  as  Singasari,  the  principal  kingdom. 
Five  of  its  kings  are  enumerated,  of  whom  Vishnuvardhana  was 
buried  in  the  celebrated  shrine  of  Tjandi  Djago,  where  he  was 
represented  in  the  guise  of  Buddha.  His  successor  Sri  Rajasa- 
nagara  was  praised  by  the  poet  Prapantja2  as  a  zealous  Buddhist 
but  was  known  by  the  posthumous  name  of  Sivabuddha.  He 
was  the  first  to  use  the  name  of  Singasari  and  perhaps  founded 
a  new  city,  but  the  kingdom  of  Toemapel  came  to  an  end  in  his 
reign  for  he  was  slain  by  Djaja  Katong2,  prince  of  Daha,  who 
restored  to  that  kingdom  its  previous  primacy,  but  only  for  a 
short  time,  since  it  was  soon  supplanted  by  Madjapahit.  The 
foundation  of  this  state  is  connected  with  a  Chinese  invasion  of 
Java,  related  at  some  length  in  the  Yuan  annals3,  so  that  we 
are  fortunate  in  possessing  a  double  and  fairly  consistent  account 
of  what  occurred. 

We  learn  from  these  sources  that  some  time  after  Khubilai 
Khan  had  conquered  China,  he  sent  missions  to  neighbouring 
countries  to  demand  tribute.  The  Javanese  had  generally 
accorded  a  satisfactory  reception  to  Chinese  missions,  but  on 
this  occasion  the  king  (apparently  Djaja  Katong)  maltreated 
the  envoy  and  sent  him  back  with  his  face  cut  or  tattooed. 
Khubilai  could  not  brook  this  outrage  and  in  1292  despatched 
a  punitive  expedition.  At  that  time  Raden  Vidjaja,  the  son- 
in-law  of  Kertanagara,  had  not  submitted  to  Djaja  Katong  and 
held  out  at  Madjapahit,  a  stronghold  which  he  had  founded 
near  the  river  Brantas.  He  offered  his  services  to  the  Chinese 
and  after  a  two  months'  campaign  Daha  was  captured  and 
Djaja  Katong  killed.  Raden  Vidjaja  now  found  that  he  no  longer 

1  In  the  work  commonly  called  "  Nagarakretagama "  (ed.  Brandes,  Verhand. 
Bataav.  Genoolschap.  LIV.  1902),  but  it  is  stated  that  its  real  name  is  "  De9awarn- 
nana."  See  Tijdschrift,  LVI.  1914,  p.  194. 

3  Or  Jayakatong.  3  Groeneveldt,  pp.  20-34. 


needed  his  Chinese  allies.  He  treacherously  massacred  some 
and  prepared  to  fight  the  rest.  But  the  Mongol  generals,  seeing 
the  difficulties  of  campaigning  in  an  unknown  country  without 
guides,  prudently  returned  to  their  master  and  reported  that 
they  had  taken  Daha  and  killed  the  insolent  king. 

Madjapahit  (or  Wilwatikta)  now  became  the  premier  state 
of  Java,  and  had  some  permanency.  Eleven  sovereigns,  in 
cluding  three  queens,  are  enumerated  by  the  Pararaton  until 
its  collapse  in  1468.  We  learn  from  the  Ming  annals  and  other 
Chinese  documents1  that  it  had  considerable  commercial 
relations  with  China  and  sent  frequent  missions:  also  that 
Palembang  was  a  vassal  of  Java.  But  the  general  impression 
left  by  the  Pararaton  is  that  during  the  greater  part  of  its 
existence  Madjapahit  was  a  distracted  and  troubled  kingdom. 
In  1403,  as  we  know  from  both  Chinese  and  Javanese  sources, 
there  began  a  great  war  between  the  western  and  eastern 
kingdoms,  that  is  between  Madjapahit  and  Balambangan  in  the 
extreme  east,  and  in  the  fifteenth  century  there  was  twice  an 
interregnum.  Art  and  literature,  though  not  dead,  declined  and 
events  were  clearly  tending  towards  a  break-up  or  revolution. 
This  appears  to  have  been  consummated  in  1468,  when  the 
Pararaton  simply  says  that  King  Pandansalas  III  left  the 
Kraton,  or  royal  residence. 

It  is  curious  that  the  native  traditions  as  to  the  date  and 
circumstances  in  which  Madjapahit  fell  should  be  so  vague,  but 
perhaps  the  end  of  Hindu  rule  in  Java  was  less  sudden  and 
dramatic  than  we  are  inclined  to  think.  Islam  had  been  making 
gradual  progress  and  its  last  opponents  were  kings  only  in  title. 
The  Chinese  mention  the  presence  of  Arabs  in  the  seventh 
century,  and  the  geography  called  Ying-yai  Sheng-lan  (published 
in  1416),  which  mentions  Grisse,  Soerabaja  and  Madjapahit  as 
the  principal  towns  of  Java,  divides  the  inhabitants  into  three 
classes:  (a)  Mohammedans  who  have  come  from  the  west,  "their 
dress  and  food  is  clean  and  proper";  (6)  the  Chinese,  who  are 
also  cleanly  and  many  of  whom  are  Mohammedans;  (c)  the 
natives  who  are  ugly  and  uncouth,  devil-worshippers,  filthy  in 
food  and  habits.  As  the  Chinese  do  not  generally  speak  so 
severely  of  the  hinduized  Javanese  it  would  appear  that 
Hinduism  lasted  longest  among  the  lower  and  more  savage 

1  Groeneveldt,  pp.  34-53. 


classes,  and  that  the  Moslims  stood  on  a  higher  level.  As  in 
other  countries,  the  Arabs  attempted  to  spread  Islam  from  the 
time  of  their  first  appearance.  At  first  they  confined  their 
propaganda  to  their  native  wives  and  dependents.  Later  we 
hear  of  veritable  apostles  of  Islam  such  as  Malik  Ibrahim,  and 
Raden  Rahmat,  the  ruler  of  a  town  called  Ampel1  which  became 
the  head  quarter  of  Islam.  The  princes  whose  territory  lay 
round  Madjapahit  were  gradually  converted  and  the  extinction 
of  the  last  Hindu  kingdom  became  inevitable2. 

It  is  remarkable  that  the  great  island  of  Sumatra,  which 
seems  to  lie  in  the  way  of  anyone  proceeding  from  India  east 
wards  and  is  close  to  the  Malay  peninsula,  should  in  all  ages 
have  proved  less  accessible  to  invaders  coming  from  the  west 
than  the  more  distant  Java.  Neither  Hindus,  Arabs  nor 
Europeans  have  been  able  to  establish  their  influence  there  in 
the  same  thorough  manner.  The  cause  is  probably  to  be  found 
in  its  unhealthy  and  impenetrable  jungles,  but  even  so  its 
relative  isolation  remains  singular. 

It  does  not  appear  that  any  prince  ever  claimed  to  be  king 
of  all  Sumatra.  For  the  Hindu  period  we  have  no  indigenous 
literature  and  our  scanty  knowledge  is  derived  from  a  few  statues 
and  inscriptions  and  from  notices  in  Chinese  writings.  The 
latter  do  not  refer  to  the  island  as  a  whole  but  to  several  states 
such  as  Indragiri  near  the  Equator  and  Kandali  (afterwards 
called  San-bo-tsai,  the  Sabaza  of  the  Arabs)  near  Palembang. 
The  annals  of  the  Liang  dynasty  say  that  the  customs  of 
Kandali  were  much  the  same  as  those  of  Camboja  and  appar 
ently  we  are  to  understand  that  the  country  was  Buddhist,  for 
one  king  visited  the  Emperor  Wu-ti  in  a  dream,  and  his  son 
addressed  a  letter  to  His  Majesty  eulogizing  his  devotion  to 
Buddhism.  Kandali  is  said  to  have  sent  three  envoys  to  China 
between  454  and  519. 

1  Near  Soerabaja.    It  is  said  that  he  married  a  daughter  of  the  king  of  Champa, 
and  that  the  king  of  Madjapahit  married  her  sister.    For  the  connection  between 
the  royal  families  of  Java  and  Champa  at  this  period  see  Maspero  in  T'oung  Pao, 
1911,  pp.  595  ff.,  and  the  references  to  Champa  in  Nagarakretagama,  15, 1,  and  83, 4. 

2  See  Raffles,  chap,  x,  for  Javanese  traditions  respecting  the  decline  and  fall  of 


The  Chinese  pilgrim  I-Ching1  visited  Sumatra  twice,  once 
for  two  months  in  672  and  subsequently  for  some  years  (about 
688-695).  He  tells  us  that  in  the  islands  of  the  Southern  Sea, 
"which  are  more  than  ten  countries,"  Buddhism  flourishes,  the 
school  almost  universally  followed  being  the  Mulasarvastivada, 
though  the  Sammitiyas  and  other  schools  have  a  few  adherents. 
He  calls  the  country  where  he  sojourned  and  to  which  these  state 
ments  primarily  refer,  Bhoja  or  Sribhoja  (Fo-shih  or  Shih-li-fo- 
shih),  adding  that  its  former  name  was  Malay u.  It  is  conjectured 
that  Shih-li-fo-shih  is  the  place  later  known  as  San-bo-tsai2  and 
Chinese  authors  seem  to  consider  that  both  this  place  and  the 
earlier  Kandali  were  roughly  speaking  identical  with  Palembang. 
I-Ching  tells  us  that  the  king  of  Bhoja  favoured  Buddhism  and 
that  there  were  more  than  a  thousand  priests  in  the  city.  Gold 
was  abundant  and  golden  flowers  were  offered  to  the  Buddha. 
There  was  communication  by  ship  with  both  India  and  China. 
The  Hinayana,  he  says,  was  the  form  of  Buddhism  adopted 
"except  in  Malayu,  where  there  are  a  few  who  belong  to  the 
Mahayana."  This  is  a  surprising  statement,  but  it  is  impossible 
to  suppose  that  an  expert  like  I-Ching  can  have  been  wrong 
about  what  he  actually  saw  in  Sribhoja.  So  far  as  his  remarks 
apply  to  Java  they  must  be  based  on  hearsay  and  have  less 
authority,  but  the  sculptures  of  Boroboedoer  appear  to  show 
the  influence  of  Mulasarvastivadin  literature.  It  must  be 
remembered  that  this  school,  though  nominally  belonging  to 
the  Hinayana,  came  to  be  something  very  different  from  the 
Theravada  of  Ceylon. 

The  Sung  annals  and  subsequent  Chinese  writers  know  the 
same  district  (the  modern  Palembang)  as  San-bo-tsai  (which  may 
indicate  either  mere  change  of  name  or  the  rise  of  a  new  city) 
and  say  that  it  sent  twenty-one  envoys  between  960  and  1178. 
The  real  object  of  these  missions  was  to  foster  trade  and  there 
was  evidently  frequent  intercourse  between  eastern  Sumatra, 
Champa  and  China.  Ultimately  the  Chinese  seem  to  have 
thought  that  the  entertainment  of  Sumatran  diplomatists  cost 
more  than  they  were  worth,  for  in  1178  the  emperor  ordered 
that  they  should  not  come  to  Court  but  present  themselves  in 

1  See  Takakusu,  A  record  of  the  Buddhist  religion,  especially  pp.  xl  to  xlvi. 

2  In  another  pronunciation  the  characters  are  read  San-fo-chai.  The  meaning 
appears  to  be  The  Three  Buddhas. 


the  province  of  Fu-kien.  The  Annals  state  that  Sanskrit  writing 
was  in  use  at  San-bo-tsai  and  lead  us  to  suppose  that  the 
country  was  Buddhist.  They  mention  several  kings  whose 
names  or  titles  seem  to  begin  with  the  Sanskrit  word  Sri1.  In 
1003  the  envoys  reported  that  a  Buddhist  temple  had  been 
erected  in  honour  of  the  emperor  and  they  received  a  present 
of  bells  for  it.  Another  envoy  asked  for  dresses  to  be  worn  by 
Buddhist  monks.  The  Ming  annals  also  record  missions  from 
San-bo-tsai  up  to  1376,  shortly  after  which  the  region  was 
conquered  by  Java  and  the  town  decayed2.  In  the  fourteenth 
century  Chinese  writers  begin  to  speak  of  Su-men-ta-la  or 
Sumatra  by  which  is  meant  not  the  whole  island  but  a  state  in 
the  northern  part  of  it  called  Samudra  and  corresponding  to 
Atjeh3.  It  had  relations  with  China  and  the  manners  and 
customs  of  its  inhabitants  are  said  to  be  the  same  as  in  Malacca, 
which  probably  means  that  they  were  Moslims. 

Little  light  is  thrown  on  the  history  of  Sumatra  by  indi 
genous  or  Javanese  monuments.  Those  found  testify,  as  might 
be  expected,  to  the  existence  here  and  there  of  both  Brahman- 
ism  and  Buddhism.  In  1343  a  Sumatran  prince  named  Aditya- 
varman,  who  was  apparently  a  vassal  of  Madjapahit,  erected  an 
image  of  Manjusri  at  Tjandi  Djago  and  in  1375  one  of 


The  Liang  and  T'ang  annals  both  speak  of  a  country  called 
Po-li,  described  as  an  island  lying  to  the  south-east  of  Canton. 
Groeneveldt  identified  it  with  Sumatra,  but  the  account  of  its 
position  suggests  that  it  is  rather  to  be  found  in  Borneo,  parts 
of  which  were  undoubtedly  known  to  the  Chinese  as  Po-lo  and 
Pu-ni4.  The  Liang  annals  state  that  Po-li  sent  an  embassy  to 
the  Emperor  Wu-ti  in  518  bearing  a  letter  which  described  the 

1  E.g.  Si-li-ma-ha-la-sha  (=Srimaharaja)  Si-li-tieli-hwa  (perhaps  =  £rideva). 

2  The  conquest  however  was  incomplete  and  about  1400  a  Chinese  adventurer 
ruled  there  some  time.  The  name  was  changed  to  Ku-Kang,  which  is  said  to  be 
still  the  Chinese  name  for  Palembang. 

3  The  Ming  annals  expressly  state  that  the  name  was  changed  to  Atjeh  about 

4  For  the  identification  of  Po-li  see  Groeneveldt,  p.  80,  and  Hose  and  McDougall, 
Pagan  Tribes  of  Borneo,  chap.  n.  It  might  be  identified  with  Bali,  but  it  is  doubtful 
if  Hindu  civilization  had  spread  to  that  island  or  even  to  east  Java  in  the  sixth 


country  as  devoted  to  Buddhism  and  frequented  by  students 
of  the  three  vehicles.  If  the  letter  is  an  authentic  document  the 
statements  in  it  may  still  be  exaggerations,  for  the  piety  of 
Wu-ti  was  well  known  and  it  is  clear  that  foreign  princes  who 
addressed  him  thought  it  prudent  to  represent  themselves  and 
their  subjects  as  fervent  Buddhists.  But  there  certainly  was  a 
Hindu  period  in  Borneo,  of  which  some  tradition  remains  among 
the  natives1,  although  it  ended  earlier  and  left  fewer  permanent 
traces  than  in  Java  and  elsewhere. 

The  most  important  records  of  this  period  are  three  Sanskrit 
inscriptions  found  at  Koetei  on  the  east  coast  of  Borneo2.  They 
record  the  donations  made  to  Brahmans  by  King  Mulavarman, 
son  of  Asvavarman  and  grandson  of  Kundagga.  They  are  not 
dated,  but  Kern  considers  for  pala^ographical  reasons  that  they 
are  not  later  than  the  fifth  century.  Thus,  since  three  genera 
tions  are  mentioned,  it  is  probable  that  about  400  A.D.  there 
were  Hindu  princes  in  Borneo.  The  inscriptions  testify  to  the 
existence  of  Hinduism  there  rather  than  of  Buddhism:  in  fact 
the  statements  in  the  Chinese  annals  are  the  only  evidence  for 
the  latter.  But  it  is  most  interesting  to  find  that  these  annals 
give  the  family  name  of  the  king  of  Poli  as  Kaundinya3  which 
no  doubt  corresponds  to  the  Kundagga  of  the  Koetei  inscription. 
At  least  one  if  not  two  of  the  Hindu  invaders  of  Camboja  bore 
this  name,  and  we  can  hardly  be  wrong  in  supposing  that 
members  of  the  same  great  family  became  princes  in  different 
parts  of  the  Far  East.  One  explanation  of  their  presence  in 
Borneo  would  be  that  they  went  thither  from  Camboja,  but  we 
have  no  record  of  expeditions  from  Camboja  and  if  adventurers 
started  thence  it  is  not  clear  why  they  went  to  the  east  coast  of 
Borneo.  It  would  be  less  strange  if  Kaundinyas  emigrating  from 
Java  reached  both  Camboja  and  Koetei.  It  is  noticeable  that 
in  Java,  Koetei,  Champa  and  Camboja  alike  royal  names  end 
in  van  nan. 

1  See  Hose  and  McDougall,  I.e.  p.  12. 

2  See  Kern,  "Over  de  Opschriften  uit  Koetei"  in  Verslagen  Meded.  Afd.  Lett.  2 
R.  xi.  D.    Another  inscription  apparently  written  in  debased  Indian  characters 
but  not  yet  deciphered  has  been  found  in  Sanggau,  south-west  Borneo. 

3  Groeneveldt,  p.  81.  The  characters  may  be  read  Kau-di-nya  according  to 
Julien's  method.  The  reference  is  to  Liang  annals,  book  54. 

XL]       JAVA  AND  THE  MALAY  ARCHIPELAGO        165 


The  architectural  monuments  of  Java  are  remarkable  for 
their  size,  their  number  and  their  beauty.  Geographically  they 
fall  into  two  chief  groups,  the  central  (Boroboedoer,  Prambanan, 
Dieng  plateau,  etc.)  in  or  near  the  kingdom  of  Mataram  and 
the  eastern  (Tjandi  Djago,  Singasari,  Panataran,  etc.)  lying  not 
at  the  extremity  of  the  island  but  chiefly  to  the  south  of 
Soerabaja.  No  relic  of  antiquity  deserving  to  be  called  a  monu 
ment  has  been  found  in  western  Java  for  the  records  left  by 
Purnavarman  (c.  400  A.D.)  are  merely  rocks  bearing  inscriptions 
and  two  footprints,  as  a  sign  that  the  monarch's  triumphal 
progress  is  compared  to  the  three  steps  of  Vishnu. 

The  earliest  dated  (779  A.D.)  monument  in  mid  Java,  Tjandi 
Kalasan,  is  Buddhist  and  lies  in  the  plain  of  Prambanan.  It  is 
dedicated  to  Tara  and  is  of  a  type  common  both  in  Java  and 
Champa,  namely  a  chapel  surmounted  by  a  tower.  In  connec 
tion  with  it  was  erected  the  neighbouring  building  called  Tjandi 
Sari,  a  two-storied  monastery  for  Mahay anist  monks.  Not  far 
distant  is  Tjandi  Sevu,  which  superficially  resembles  the  450 
Pagodas  of  Mandalay,  for  it  consists  of  a  central  cruciform  shrine 
surrounded  by  about  240  smaller  separate  chapels,  every  one  of 
which,  apparently,  contained  the  statue  of  a  Dhyani  Buddha. 
Other  Buddhist  buildings  in  the  same  region  are  Tjandi  Plaosan, 
and  the  beautiful  chapel  known  as  Tjandi  Mendut  in  which  are 
gigantic  seated  images  of  the  Buddha,  Manjusri  and  Avalokita. 
The  face  of  the  last  named  is  perhaps  the  most  exquisite  piece 
of  work  ever  wrought  by  the  chisel  of  a  Buddhist  artist. 

It  is  not  far  from  Mendut  to  Boroboedoer,  which  deserves 
to  be  included  in  any  list  of  the  wonders  of  the  world.  This 
celebrated  stupa — for  in  essence  it  is  a  highly  ornamented  stupa 
with  galleries  of  sculpture  rising  one  above  the  other  on  its 
sides — has  been  often  described  and  can  be  described  intelligibly 
only  at  considerable  length.  I  will  therefore  not  attempt  to 
detail  or  criticize  its  beauties  but  will  merely  state  some  points 
which  are  important  for  our  purpose. 

It  is  generally  agreed  that  it  must  have  been  built  about 
850  A.D.,  but  obviously  the  construction  lasted  a  considerable 
time  and  there  are  indications  that  the  architects  altered  their 
original  plan.  The  unknown  founder  must  have  been  a  powerful 


and  prosperous  king  for  no  one  else  could  have  commanded  the 
necessary  labour.  The  stupa  shows  no  sign  of  Brahmanic 
influence.  It  is  purely  Buddhist  and  built  for  purposes  of 
edification.  The  worshippers  performed  pradakshina  by  walking 
round  the  galleries,  one  after  the  other,  and  as  they  did  so  had 
an  opportunity  of  inspecting  some  2000  reliefs  depicting  the 
previous  births  of  Sakyamuni,  his  life  on  earth  and  finally  the 
mysteries  of  Mahayanist  theology.  As  in  Indian  pilgrim  cities, 
temple  guides  were  probably  ready  to  explain  the  pictures. 

The  selection  of  reliefs  is  not  due  to  the  artists'  fancy  but 
aims  at  illustrating  certain  works.  Thus  the  scenes  of  the 
Buddha's  life  reproduce  in  stone  the  story  of  the  Lalita  Vistara1 
and  the  Jataka  pictures  are  based  on  the  Divyavadana.  It  is 
interesting  to  find  that  both  these  works  are  connected  with 
the  school  of  the  Mulasarvastivadins,  which  according  to  I-Ching 
was  the  form  of  Buddhism  prevalent  in  the  archipelago.  In  the 
third  gallery  the  figure  of  Maitreya  is  prominent  and  often  seems 
to  be  explaining  something  to  a  personage  who  accompanies  him. 
As  Maitreya  is  said  to  have  revealed  five  important  scriptures 
to  Asariga,  and  as  there  is  a  tradition  that  the  east  of  Asia  was 
evangelized  by  the  disciples  of  Asariga  or  Vasubandhu,  it  is 
possible  that  the  delivery  and  progress  of  Maitreya's  revelation 
is  here  depicted.  The  fourth  gallery  seems  to  deal  with  the  five 
superhuman  Buddhas2,  their  paradises  and  other  supra-mundane 
matters,  but  the  key  to  this  series  of  sculptures  has  not  yet  been 
found.  It  is  probable  that  the  highest  storey  proved  to  be  too 
heavy  in  its  original  form  and  that  the  central  dagoba  had  to 
be  reduced  lest  it  should  break  the  substructure.  But  it  is  not 
known  what  image  or  relic  was  preserved  in  this  dagoba.  Possibly 
it  was  dedicated  to  Vairocana  who  was  regarded  as  the  Supreme 
Being  and  All-God  by  some  Javanese  Buddhists3. 

The  creed  here  depicted  in  stone  seems  to  be  a  form  of 

1  See  Pleyte,  Die  Buddhalegende  in  den  Sculpturen  von  Borobudur.    But  he 
points  out  that  the  version  of  the  Lalita  Vistara  followed  by  the  artist  is  not  quite 
the  same  as  the  one  that  we  possess. 

2  Amitabha,   Amoghasiddhi,   Ratnasambhava,   Akshobhya,  Vairocana,  some 
times  called  Dhyani  Buddhas,  but  it  does  not  seem  that  this  name  was  in  common 
use  in  Java  or  elsewhere.  The  Kamahayanikan  calls  them  the  Five  Tathagatas. 

3  So  in  the  Kunjarakarna,  for  which  see  below.  The  Kamahayanikan  teaches 
an  elaborate  system  of  Buddha  emanations  but  for  purposes  of  worship  it  is  not 
quite  clear  which  should  be  adored  as  the  highest. 

XL]       JAVA  AND  THE  MALAY  ARCHIPELAGO        167 

Mahayanism.  Sakyamuni  is  abundantly  honoured  but  there  is 
no  representation  of  his  death.  This  may  be  because  the  Lalita 
Vistara  treats  only  of  his  early  career,  but  still  the  omission  is 
noteworthy.  In  spite  of  the  importance  of  Sakyamuni,  a  con 
siderable  if  mysterious  part  is  played  by  the  five  superhuman 
Buddhas,  and  several  Bodhisattvas,  especially  Maitreya,  Avalo- 
kita  and  Manjusri.  In  the  celestial  scenes  we  find  numerous 
Bodhisattvas  both  male  and  female,  yet  the  figures  are  hardly 
Tantric  and  there  is  no  sign  that  any  of  the  personages  are 
Brahmanic  deities. 

Yet  the  region  was  not  wholly  Buddhist.  Not  far  from 
Boroboedoer  and  apparently  of  about  the  same  age  is  the 
Sivaite  temple  of  Banon,  and  the  great  temple  group  of  Pram- 
banam  is  close  to  Kalasan  and  to  the  other  Buddhist  shrines 
mentioned  above.  It  consists  of  eight  temples  of  which  four  are 
dedicated  to  Brahma,  Siva,  Vishnu  and  Nandi  respectively,  the 
purpose  of  the  others  being  uncertain.  The  largest  and  most 
decorated  is  that  dedicated  to  Siva,  containing  four  shrines  in 
which  are  images  of  the  god  as  Mahadeva  and  as  Guru,  of 
Ganesa  and  of  Durga.  The  balustrade  is  ornamented  with  a 
series  of  reliefs  illustrating  the  Ramayana.  These  temples,  which 
appear  to  be  entirely  Brahmanic,  approach  in  style  the  archi 
tecture  of  eastern  Java  and  probably  date  from  the  tenth 
century,  that  is  about  a  century  later  than  the  Buddhist 
monuments.  But  there  is  no  tradition  or  other  evidence  of  a 
religious  revolution. 

The  temples  on  the  Dieng  plateau  are  also  purely  Brahmanic 
and  probably  older,  for  though  we  have  no  record  of  their 
foundation,  an  inscribed  stone  dated  800  A.D.  has  been  found 
in  this  district.  The  plateau  which  is  6500  feet  high  was 
approached  by  paved  roads  or  flights  of  stairs  on  one  of  which 
about  4000  steps  still  remain.  Originally  there  seem  to  have 
been  about  40  buildings  on  the  plateau  but  of  these  only  eight 
now  exist  besides  several  stone  foundations  which  supported 
wooden  structures.  The  place  may  have  been  a  temple  city 
analogous  to  Girnar  or  Satrunjaya,  but  it  appears  to  have  been 
deserted  in  the  thirteenth  century,  perhaps  in  consequence  of 
volcanic  activity.  The  Dieng  temples  are  named  after  the  heroes 
of  the  Mahabharata  (Tjandi  Ardjuno,  Tjandi  Bimo,  etc.),  but 
these  appear  to  be  late  designations.  They  are  rectangular  tower- 


like  shrines  with  porches  and  a  single  cellule  within.  Figures  of 
Brahma,  Siva  and  Vishnu  have  been  discovered,  as  well  as 
spouts  to  carry  off  the  libation  water. 

Before  leaving  mid  Java  I  should  perhaps  mention  the 
relatively  modern  (1435-1440  A.D.)  temples  of  Suku.  I  have  not 
seen  these  buildings,  but  they  are  said  to  be  coarse  in  execution 
and  to  indicate  that  they  were  used  by  a  debased  sect  of 
Vishnuites.  Their  interest  lies  in  the  extraordinary  resemblance 
which  they  bear  to  the  temples  of  Mexico  and  Yucatan,  a 
resemblance  "which  no  one  can  fail  to  observe,  though  no  one 
has  yet  suggested  any  hypothesis  to  account  for  it1." 

The  best  known  and  probably  the  most  important  monu 
ments  of  eastern  Java  are  Panataran,  Tjandi  Djago  and  Tjandi 

The  first  is  considered  to  date  from  about  1150  A.D.  It  is 
practically  a  three-storied  pyramid  with  a  flat  top.  The  sides 
of  the  lowest  storey  are  ornamented  with  a  series  of  reliefs 
illustrating  portions  of  the  Ramayana,  local  legends  and  perhaps 
the  exploits  of  Krishna,  but  this  last  point  is  doubtful3.  This 
temple  seems  to  indicate  the  same  stage  of  belief  as  Prambanam. 
It  shows  no  trace  of  Buddhism  and  though  Siva  was  probably 
the  principal  deity,  the  scenes  represented  in  its  sculptures  are 
chiefly  Vishnuite. 

Tjandi  Djago  is  in  the  province  .of  Pasoeroean.  According 
to  the  Pararaton  and  the  Nagarakretagama4,  Vishnuvardhana, 
king  of  Toemapel,  was  buried  there.  As  he  died  in  1272  or  1273 
A.D.  and  the  temple  was  already  in  existence,  we  may  infer  that 
it  dates  from  at  least  1250.  He  was  represented  there  in  the 
form  of  Sugata  (that  is  the  Buddha)  and  at  Waleri  in  the  form 
of  Siva.  Here  we  have  the  custom  known  also  in  Champa  and 
Camboja  of  a  deceased  king  being  represented  by  a  statue  with 
his  own  features  but  the  attributes  of  his  tutelary  deity.  It  is 
strange  that  a  king  named  after  Vishnu  should  be  portrayed  in 
the  guise  of  Siva  and  Buddha.  But  in  spite  of  this  impartiality, 
the  cult  practised  at  Tjandi  Djago  seems  to  have  been  not  a 
mixture  but  Buddhism  of  a  late  Mahay anist  type.  It  was 

1  Fergusson,  History  of  Indian  and  Eastern  Architecture,  ed.  1910,  vol.  n.  p.  439. 

2  See  Archaeologisch  Onderzoek  op  Java  en  Madura,  I.  "Tjandi  Djago,"  1904; 
II.  "Tj.  Singasari  en  Panataran,"  1909. 

8  See  Knebel  in  Tijds.  voor  Indische  T.,  L.  en  Volkenkunde,  41,  1909,  p.  27. 
4  See  passages  quoted  in  Archaeol.  Onderzoek,  I.  pp.  96-97. 

XL]       JAVA  AND  THE  MALAY  ARCHIPELAGO        169 

doubtless  held  that  Buddhas  and  Bodhisattvas  are  identical 
with  Brahmanic  deities,  but  the  fairly  numerous  pantheon 
discovered  in  or  near  the  ruins  consists  of  superhuman  Buddhas 
and  Bodhisattvas  with  their  spouses1. 

In  form  Tjandi  Djago  has  somewhat  the  appearance  of  a 
three-storied  pyramid  but  the  steps  leading  up  to  the  top 
platform  are  at  one  end  only  and  the  shrine  instead  of  standing 
in  the  centre  of  the  platform  is  at  the  end  opposite  to  the  stairs. 
The  figures  in  the  reliefs  are  curiously  square  and  clumsy  and 
recall  those  of  Central  America. 

Tjandi  Singasari,  also  in  the  province  of  Pasoeroean,  is  of  a 
different  form.  It  is  erected  on  a  single  low  platform  and  con 
sists  of  a  plain  rectangular  building  surmounted  by  five  towers 
such  as  are  also  found  in  Cambojan  temples.  There  is  every 
reason  to  believe  that  it  was  erected  in  1278A.D.  in  the  reign 
of  Kretanagara,  the  last  king  of  Toemapel,  and  that  it  is  the 
temple  known  as  Siva-buddhalaya  in  which  he  was  commemor 
ated  under  the  name  of  Siva-buddha.  An  inscription  found 
close  by  relates  that  in  1351  A. D.  a  shrine  was  erected  on  behalf 
of  the  royal  family  in  memory  of  those  who  died  with  the  king2. 

The  Nagarakretagama  represents  this  king  as  a  devout 
Buddhist  but  his  Very  title  Sivabuddha  shows  how  completely 
Sivaism  and  Buddhism  were  fused  in  his  religion.  The  same 
work  mentions  a  temple  in  which  the  lower  storey  was  dedicated 
to  Siva  and  the  upper  to  Akshobhya :  it  also  leads  us  to  suppose 
that  the  king  was  honoured  as  an  incarnation  of  Akshobhya 
even  during  his  life  and  was  consecrated  as  a  Jina  under  the 
name  of  Srijnanabajresvara3.  The  Singasari  temple  is  less 
ornamented  with  reliefs  than  the  others  described  but  has 
furnished  numerous  statues  of  excellent  workmanship  which 
illustrate  the  fusion  of  the  Buddhist  and  Sivaite  pantheons. 
On  the  one  side  we  have  Prajnaparamita,  Manjusri  and  Tara, 
on  the  other  Ganesa,  the  Linga,  Siva  in  various  forms  (Guru, 
Nandisvara,  Mahakala,  etc.),  Durga  and  Brahma.  Not  only  is 

1  Hayagriva  however  may  be  regarded  as  a  Brahmanic  god  adopted  by  the 

2  See  for  reasons  and  references  Archaeol.  Onderzoek,  11.  pp.  36-40.  The  principal 
members  of  the  king's  household  probably  committed  suicide  during  the  funeral 

3  Kern  in  Tijds.  voor  T.,  L.  en  Volkenkunde,  Deel  LIT.  1910,  p.  107.   Similarly  in 
Burma  Alompra  was  popularly  regarded  as  a  Bodhisattva. 


the  Sivaite  element  predominant  but  the  Buddhist  figures  are 
concerned  less  with  the  veneration  of  the  Buddha  than  with 
accessory  mythology. 

Javanese  architecture  and  sculpture  are  no  doubt  derived 
from  India,  but  the  imported  style,  whatever  it  may  have  been, 
was  modified  by  local  influences  and  it  seems  impossible  at 
present  to  determine  whether  its  origin  should  be  sought  on  the 
eastern  or  western  side  of  India.  The  theory  that  the  temples 
on  the  Dieng  plateau  are  Chalukyan  buildings  appears  to  be 
abandoned  but  they  and  many  others  in  Java  show  a  striking 
resemblance  to  the  shrines  found  in  Champa.  Javanese  archi 
tecture  is  remarkable  for  the  complete  absence  not  only  of 
radiating  arches  but  of  pillars,  and  consequently  of  large  halls. 
This  feature  is  no  doubt  due  to  the  ever  present  danger  of 
earthquakes.  Many  reliefs,  particularly  those  of  Panataran, 
show  the  influence  of  a  style  which  is  not  Indian  and  may  be 
termed,  though  not  very  correctly,  Polynesian.  The  great  merit 
of  Javanese  sculpture  lies  in  the  refinement  and  beauty  of  the 
faces.  Among  figures  executed  in  India  it  would  be  hard  to  find 
anything  equal  in  purity  and  delicacy  to  the  Avalokita  of 
Mendut,  the  Manjusri  now  in  the  Berlin  Museum  or  the  Prajfia- 
paramita  now  at  Ley  den. 


From  the  eleventh  century  until  the  end  of  the  Hindu  period 
Java  can  show  a  considerable  body  of  literature,  wliich  is  in 
part  theological.  It  is  unfortunate  that  no  books  dating  from 
an  earlier  epoch  should  be  extant.  The  sculptures  of  Prambanam 
and  Boroboedoer  clearly  presuppose  an  acquaintance  with  the 
Ramayana,  the  Lalita  Vistara  and  other  Buddhist  works  but, 
as  in  Camboja,  this  literature  was  probably  known  only  in  the 
original  Sanskrit  and  only  to  the  learned.  But  it  is  not  unlikely 
that  the  Javanese  adaptations  of  the  Indian  epics  which  have 
come  down  to  us  were  preceded  by  earlier  attempts  which  have 

The  old  literary  language  of  Java  is  commonly  known  as 
Basa  Kawi  or  Kawi,  that  is  the  language  of  poetry1.  It  is 

1  Sanskrit  Kavi,  a  poet.  See  for  Javanese  literature  Van  der  Tuuk  in  J.R.A.S. 
xui.  1881,  p.  42,  and  Hinloopen  Labberton,  ib.  1913,  p.  1.  Also  the  article  "Lit- 
teratuur"  in  the  Encyc.  van  Nederlandach- Indie,  and  many  notices  in  the  writings  of 
Kern  and  Veth. 


however  simply  the  predecessor  of  modern  Javanese  and  many 
authorities  prefer  to  describe  the  language  of  the  island  as  Old 
Javanese  before  the  Madjapahit  period,  Middle- Javanese  dur 
ing  that  period  and  New  Javanese  after  the  fall  of  Madjapahit. 
The  greater  part  of  this  literature  consists  of  free  versions  of 
Sanskrit  works  or  of  a  substratum  in  Sanskrit  accompanied  by 
a  Javanese  explanation.  Only  a  few  Javanese  works  are  original, 
that  is  to  say  not  obviously  inspired  by  an  Indian  prototype, 
but  on  the  other  hand  nearly  all  of  them  handle  their  materials 
with  freedom  and  adapt  rather  than  translate  what  they  borrow. 

One  of  the  earliest  works  preserved  appears  to  be  the  Tantoe 
Panggelaran,  a  treatise  on  cosmology  in  which  Indian  and  native 
ideas  are  combined.  It  is  supposed  to  have  been  written  about 
1000  A.D.  Before  the  foundation  of  Madjapahit  Javanese  litera 
ture  flourished  especially  in  the  reigns  of  Erlangga  and  Djajabaja, 
that  is  in  the  eleventh  and  twelfth  centuries  respectively.  About 
the  time  of  Erlangga  were  produced  the  old  prose  version  of 
the  Mahabharata,  in  which  certain  episodes  of  that  poem  are 
rendered  with  great  freedom  and  the  poem  called  Arjunavivaha, 
or  the  marriage  of  Arjuna. 

The  Bharatayuddha1,  which  states  that  it  was  composed  by 
Mpoe  Sedah  in  1157  by  order  of  Djajabaja,  prince  of  Kediri,  is, 
even  more  than  the  prose  version  mentioned  above,  a  free 
rendering  of  parts  of  the  Mahabharata.  It  is  perhaps  based  on 
an  older  translation  preserved  in  Bali2.  The  Kawi  Ramayana 
was  in  the  opinion  of  Kern  composed  about  1200  A.D.  It  follows 
in  essentials  the  story  of  the  Ramayana,  but  it  was  apparently 
composed  by  a  poet  unacquainted  with  Sanskrit  who  drew  his 
knowledge  from  some  native  source  now  unknown3.  He  appears 
to  have  been  a  Sivaite.  To  the  eleventh  century  are  also  referred 
the  Smaradahana  and  the  treatise  on  prosody  called  Vritta- 
sancaya.  All  this  literature  is  based  upon  classical  Sanskrit 
models  and  is  not  distinctly  Buddhist  although  the  prose 
version  of  the  Mahabharata  states  that  it  was  written  for 
Brahmans,  Sivaites  and  Buddhists4.  Many  other  translations 

1  Edited  by  Gunning,  1903. 

2  A  fragment  of  it  is  printed  in  Notulen.  Batav.  Gen.  LII.  1914,  108. 

8  Episodes  of  the  Indian  epics  have  also  been  used  as  the  subjects  of  Javanese 
dramas.  See  Juynboll,  Indonesische  en  achterindische  tooneelvoorstellingen  uit  het 
Rdmdyana,  and  Hinloopen  Labberton,  Pepakem  Sapanti  Sakoentala,  1912. 

4  Juynboll,  Drie  Boeken  van  het  Oudjavaansche  MaMbhdrata,  p.  28. 

E.  in.  12 


or  adaptations  of  Sanskrit  work  are  mentioned,  such  as  the 
Nitisastra,  the  Sarasamuccaya,  the  Tantri  (in  several  editions), 
a  prose  translation  of  the  Brahmandapurana,  together  with 
grammars  and  dictionaries.  The  absence  of  dates  makes  it 
difficult  to  use  these  works  for  the  history  of  Javanese  thought. 
But  it  seems  clear  that  during  the  Madjapahit  epoch,  or  perhaps 
even  before  it,  a  strong  current  of  Buddhism  permeated  Javanese 
literature,  somewhat  in  contrast  with  the  tone  of  the  works 
hitherto  cited.  Brandes  states  that  the  Sutasoma,  Vighnotsava, 
Kunjarakarna,  Sang  Hyang  Kamahayanikan,  and  Buddha- 
pamutus  are  purely  Buddhist  works  and  that  the  Tjantakaparva, 
Arjunavijaya,  Nagarakretagama,  Wariga  and  Bubukshah  show 
striking  traces  of  Buddhism1.  Some  of  these  works  are  inacces 
sible  to  me  but  two  of  them  deserve  examination,  the  Sang 
Hyang  Kamahayanikan2  and  the  story  of  Kunjarakarna3.  The 
first  is  tentatively  assigned  to  the  Madjapahit  epoch  or  earlier, 
the  second  with  the  same  caution  to  the  eleventh  century. 
I  do  not  presume  to  criticize  these  dates  which  depend  partly  on 
linguistic  considerations.  The  Kamahayanikan  is  a  treatise  (or 
perhaps  extracts  from  treatises)  on  Mahayanism  as  understood  in 
Java  and  presumably  on  the  normal  form  of  Mahayanism.  The 
other  work  is  an  edifying  legend  including  an  exposition  of  the 
faith  by  no  one  less  than  the  Buddha  Vairocana.  In  essentials 
it  agrees  with  the  Kamahayanikan  but  in  details  it  shows  either 
sectarian  influence  or  the  idiosyncrasies  of  the  author. 

The  Kamahayanikan  consists  of  Sanskrit  verses  explained 
by  a  commentary  in  old  Javanese  and  is  partly  in  the  form  of 
questions  and  answers.  The  only  authority  whom  it  cites  is 
Dignaga.  It  professes  to  teach  the  Mahayana  and  Mantrayana, 
which  is  apparently  a  misspelling  for  Mantrayana.  The  emphasis 
laid  on  Bajra  (that  is  vajra  or  dorje),  ghanta,  mudra,  mandala, 
mystic  syllables,  and  Devis  marks  it  as  an  offshoot  of  Tantrism 
and  it  offers  many  parallels  to  Nepalese  literature.  On  the  other 
hand  it  is  curious  that  it  uses  the  form  Nibana  not  Nirvana4.  Its 

1  Archaeol.  OnderzoeJc,  I.  p.  98.  This  statement  is  abundantly  confirmed  by 
Krom's  index  of  the  proper  names  in  the  Nagarakretagama  in  Tijdschrift,  LVI.  1914, 
pp.  495  ff. 

2  Edited  with  transl.  and  notes  by  J.  Kat,  's  Gravenhage,  1910. 

8  Edited  with  transl.  by  H.  Kern  in  Verh.  der  K.  Akademie  van  Wetenschappen 
te  Amsterdam.  Afd.  Lett.  N.R.  111.  3.  1901. 

4  But  this  probably  represents  nizbana  and  is  not  a  Pali  form.  Cf.  Bajra,  Bayu 
for  Vajra,  Vayu. 

XL]       JAVA  AND  THE  MALAY  ARCHIPELAGO        173 

object  is  to  teach  a  neophyte,  who  has  to  receive  initiation,  how 
to  become  a  Buddha1.  In  the  second  part  the  pupil  is  addressed 
as  Jinaputra,  that  is  son  of  the  Buddha  or  one  of  the  household 
of  faith.  He  is  to  be  moderate  but  not  ascetic  in  food  and 
clothing :  he  is  not  to  cleave  to  the  Puranas  and  Tantras  but  to 
practise  the  Paramitas.  These  are  defined  first  as  six2  and  then 
four  others  are  added3.  Under  Prajnaparamita  is  given  a  some 
what  obscure  account  of  the  doctrine  of  Sunyata.  Then  follows 
the  exposition  of  Paramaguhya  (the  highest  secret)  and  Maha- 
guhya  (the  great  secret).  The  latter  is  defined  as  being  Yoga,  the 
bhavanas,  the  four  noble  truths  and  the  ten  paramitas.  The 
former  explains  the  embodiment  of  Bhatara  Visesha,  that  is  to 
say  the  way  in  which  Buddhas,  gods  and  the  world  of  pheno 
mena  are  evolved  from  a  primordial  principle,  called  Advaya 
and  apparently  equivalent  to  the  Nepalese  Adibuddha4.  Advaya 
is  the  father  of  Buddha  and  Advayajnana,  also  called  Bharali 
Prajnaparamita,  is  his  mother,  but  the  Buddha  principle  at  this 
stage  is  also  called  Divarupa.  In  the  next  stage  this  Divarupa 
takes  form  as  Sakyamuni,  who  is  regarded  as  a  superhuman 
form  of  Buddhahood  rather  than  as  a  human  teacher,  for  he 
produces  from  his  right  and  left  side  respectively  Lokesvara  and 
Bajrapani.  These  beings  produce,  the  first  Akshobhya  and 
Ratnasambhava,  the  second  Amitabha  and  Amoghasiddhi,  but 
Vairocana  springs  directly  from  the  face  of  Sakyamuni.  The  five 
superhuman  Buddhas  are  thus  accounted  for.  From  Vairocana 
spring  Isvara  (Siva),  Brahma,  and  Vishnu:  from  them  the 
elements,  the  human  body  and  the  whole  world.  A  considerable 
part  of  the  treatise  is  occupied  with  connecting  these  various 
emanations  of  the  Advaya  with  mystic  syllables  and  in  showing 
how  the  five  Buddhas  correspond  to  the  different  skandas, 
elements,  senses,  etc.  Finally  we  are  told  that  there  are  five 
Devis,  or  female  counterparts  corresponding  in  the  same  order 
to  the  Buddhas  named  above  and  called  Locana,  Mamaki, 
Pandaravasmi,  Tara  and  Dhatvisvari.  But  it  is  declared  that 

1  Adyabhishiktayushmanta,  p.  30.    Praptam  buddhatvam  bhavadbhir,  ib.  and 
Esha  marga  varah  sriraan  mahayana  mahodayah  Yena  yuyam  gamishyanto  bhavish- 
yatha  Tathagatah. 

2  Dana,  Sila,  kshanti,  virya,  dhyana,  prajna. 

3  Maitri,  karuna,  mudita,  upeksha. 

4  The  Karandavyuha  teaches  a  somewhat  similar  doctrine  of  creative  emana 
tions.  Avalokita,  Brahma,  Siva,  Vishnu  and  others  all  are  evolved  from  the  original 
Buddha  spirit  and  proceed  to  evolve  the  world. 


the  first  and  last  of  these  are  the  same  and  therefore  there  are 
really  only  four  Devis. 

The  legend  of  Kunjarakarna  relates  how  a  devout  Yaksha 
of  that  name  went  to  Bodhicitta1  and  asked  of  Vairocana 
instruction  in  the  holy  law  and  more  especially  as  to  the  mysteries 
of  rebirth.  Vairocana  did  not  refuse  but  bade  his  would-be  pupil 
first  visit  the  realms  of  Yama,  god  of  the  dead.  Kunjarakarna 
did  so,  saw  the  punishments  of  the  underworld,  including  the 
torments  prepared  for  a  friend  of  his,  whom  he  was  able  to  warn 
on  his  return.  Yama  gave  him  some  explanations  respecting 
the  alternation  of  life  and  death  and  he  was  subsequently 
privileged  to  receive  a  brief  but  more  general  exposition  of 
doctrine  from  Vairocana  himself. 

This  doctrine  is  essentially  a  variety  of  Indian  pantheism 
but  peculiar  in  its  terminology  inasmuch  as  Vairocana,  like 
Krishna  in  the  Bhagavadgita,  proclaims  himself  to  be  the  All- 
God  and  not  merely  the  chief  of  the  five  Buddhas.  He  quotes 
with  approval  the  saying  "you  are  I:  I  am  you"  and  affirms 
the  identity  of  Buddhism  and  Sivaism.  Among  the  monks2 
there  are  no  muktas  (i.e.  none  who  have  attained  liberation) 
because  they  all  consider  as  two  what  is  really  one.  "The 
Buddhists  say,  we  are  Bauddhas,  for  the  Lord  Buddha  is  our 
highest  deity :  we  are  not  the  same  as  the  Sivaites,  for  the  Lord 
Siva  is  for  them  the  highest  deity."  The  Sivaites  are  represented 
as  saying  that  the  five  Kusikas  are  a  development  or  incarna 
tions  of  the  five  Buddhas.  "Well,  my  son"  is  the  conclusion, 
"These  are  all  one:  we  are  Siva,  we  are  Buddha." 

In  this  curious  exposition  the  author  seems  to  imply  that 
his  doctrine  is  different  from  that  of  ordinary  Buddhists,  and  to 
reprimand  them  more  decidedly  than  Sivaites.  He  several  times 
uses  the  phrase  Namo  Bhatdra,  namah  tSivdya  (Hail,  Lord :  hail 
to  Siva)  yet  he  can  hardly  be  said  to  favour  the  Sivaites  on  the 
whole,  for  his  All-God  is  Vairocana  who  once  (but  only  once) 
receives  the  title  of  Buddha.  The  doctrine  attributed  to  the 
Sivaites  that  the  five  Kusikas  are  identical  with  the  superhuman 
Buddhas  remains  obscure3.  These  five  personages  are  said  to  be 
often  mentioned  in  old  Javanese  literature  but  to  be  variously 

1  The  use  of  this  word,  as  a  name  for  the  residence  of  Vairocana,  seems  to  be 
peculiar  to  our  author. 

2  This  term  may  include  6ivaite  ascetics  as  well  as  Buddhist  monks. 

3  See  further  discussion  in  Kern's  edition,  p.  16. 


enumerated1.  They  are  identified  with  the  five  Indras,  but 
these  again  are  said  to  be  the  five  senses  (indriyas).  Hence 
we  can  find  a  parallel  to  this  doctrine  in  the  teaching  of  the 
Kamahayanikan  that  the  five  Buddhas  correspond  to  the  five 

Two  other  special  theses  are  enounced  in  the  story  of 
Kunjarakarna.  The  first  is  Vairocana's  analysis  of  a  human 
being,  which  makes  it  consist  of  five  Atmans  or  souls,  called 
respectively  Atman,  Cetanatman,  Paratman,  Niratman  and 
Antaratman,  which  somehow  correspond  to  the  five  elements, 
five  senses  and  five  Skandhas.  The  singular  list  suggests  that 
the  author  was  imperfectly  acquainted  with  the  meaning  of  the 
Sanskrit  words  employed  and  the  whole  terminology  is  strange 
in  a  Buddhist  writer.  Still  in  the  later  Upanishads2  the  epithet 
pancatmaka  is  applied  to  the  human  body,  especially  in  the 
Garbha  Upanishad  which,  like  the  passage  here  under  considera 
tion,  gives  a  psychophysiological  explanation  of  the  develop 
ment  of  an  embryo  into  a  human  being. 

The  second  thesis  is  put  in  the  mouth  of  Yama.  He  states 
that  when  a  being  has  finished  his  term  in  purgatory  he  returns 
to  life  in  this  world  first  as  a  worm  or  insect,  then  successively 
as  a  higher  animal  and  a  human  being,  first  diseased  or  maimed 
and  finally  perfect.  No  parallel  has  yet  been  quoted  to  this 
account  of  metempsychosis. 

Thus  the  Kunjarakarna  contains  peculiar  views  which  are 
probably  sectarian  or  individual.  On  the  other  hand  their 
apparent  singularity  may  be  due  to  our  small  knowledge  of  old 
Javanese  literature.  Though  other  writings  are  not  known  to 
extol  Vairocana  as  being  Siva  and  Buddha  in  one,  yet  they  have 
no  scruple  in  identifying  Buddhist  and  Brahmanic  deities  or 
connecting  them  by  some  system  of  emanations,  as  we  have 
already  seen  in  the  Kamahayanikan.  Such  an  identity  is  still 
more  definitely  proclaimed  in  the  old  Javanese  version  of  the 
Sutasoma  Jataka3.  It  is  called  Purushada-Santa  and  was 

1  A8  are  the  Panchpirs  in  modern  India. 

2  Garbha.  Up.  1  and  3,  especially  the  phrase  asmin  pancatmake  sarire.    Pinda 
Up.  2.    Bhinne  pancatmake  dehe.   Maha  Nar.  Up.  23.   Sa  va  esha  purushah  pan- 
cadha  pancatma. 

8  See  Kern,  "Over  de  Vermenging  van  Civaisme  en  Buddhisme  op  Java"  in 
Vers.  en  Meded.  der  Kan.  Akad.  van  Wet.  Afd.  Lett.  3  R.  5  Deel,  1888. 

For  the  Sutasomajataka  see  Speyer's  translation  of  the  Jatakamala,  pp.  291-313, 
with  his  notes  and  references.  It  is  No.  537  in  the  Pali  Collection  of  Jatakas. 


composed  by  Tantular  who  lived  at  Madjapahit  in  the  reign  of 
Rajasanagara  (1350-1389  A.D.).  In  the  Indian  original  Sutasoma 
is  one  of  the  previous  births  of  Gotama.  But  the  Javanese 
writer  describes  him  as  an  Avatara  of  the  Buddha  who  is 
Brahma,  Vishnu  and  Isvara,  and  he  states  that  "The  Lord 
Buddha  is  not  different  from  Siva  the  king  of  the  gods.... They 
are  distinct  and  they  are  one.  In  the  Law  is  no  dualism."  The 
superhuman  Buddhas  are  identified  with  various  Hindu  gods 
and  also  with  the  five  senses.  Thus  Amitabha  is  Mahadeva  and 
Amoghasiddhi  is  Vishnu.  This  is  only  a  slight  variation  of  the 
teaching  in  the  Kamahayanikan.  There  Brahmanic  deities 
emanate  from  Sakyamuni  through  various  Bodhisattvas  and 
Buddhas:  here  the  Buddha  spirit  is  regarded  as  equivalent  to 
the  Hindu  Trimurti  and  the  various  aspects  of  this  spirit  can 
be  described  in  either  Brahmanic  or  Buddhistic  terminology 
though  in  reality  all  Buddhas,  Bodhisattvas  and  gods  are  one. 
But  like  the  other  authors  quoted,  Tantular  appears  to  lean  to 
the  Buddhist  side  of  these  equations,  especially  for  didactic 
purposes.  For  instance  he  says  that  meditation  should  be 
guided  "by  Lokesvara's  word  and  Sakyamuni's  spirit." 

Thus  it  will  be  seen  that  if  we  take  Javanese  epigraphy, 
monuments  and  literature  together  with  Chinese  notices,  they 
to  some  extent  confirm  one  another  and  enable  us  to  form  an 
outline  picture,  though  with  many  gaps,  of  the  history  of 
thought  and  religion  in  the  island.  Fa-Hsien  tells  us  that  in 
418A.D.  Brahmanism  flourished  (as  is  testified  by  the  inscrip 
tions  of  Purnavarman)  but  that  the  Buddhists  were  not  worth 
mentioning.  Immediately  afterwards,  probably  in  423,  Guna- 
varman  is  said  to  have  converted  She-po,  if  that  be  Java,  to 
Buddhism,  and  as  he  came  from  Kashmir  he  was  probably  a 
Sarvastivadin.  Other  monks  are  mentioned  as  having  visited 
the  southern  seas1.  About  690  I-Ching  says  that  Buddhism  of 
the  Mulasarvastivadin  school  was  flourishing  in  Sumatra,  which 
he  visited,  and  in  the  other  islands  of  the  Archipelago.  The 
remarkable  series  of  Buddhist  monuments  in  mid  Java  ex- 

1  See  Nanjio  Cat.  Nos.  137,  138. 


tending  from  about  779  to  900  A.D.  confirms  his  statement.  But 
two  questions  arise.  Firstly,  is  there  any  explanation  of  this 
sudden  efflorescence  of  Buddhism  in  the  Archipelago,  and  next, 
what  was  its  doctrinal  character?  If,  as  Taranatha  says,  the 
disciples  of  Vasubandhu  evangelized  the  countries  of  the  East, 
their  influence  might  well  have  been  productive  about  the  time 
of  I-Ching's  visit.  But  in  any  case  during  the  sixth  and  seventh 
centuries  religious  travellers  must  have  been  continually 
journeying  between  India  and  China,  in  both  directions,  and 
some  of  them  must  have  landed  in  the  Archipelago.  At  the 
beginning  of  the  sixth  century  Buddhism  was  not  yet  decadent 
in  India  and  was  all  the  fashion  in  China.  It  is  not  therefore 
surprising  if  it  was  planted  in  the  islands  lying  on  the  route. 
It  may  be,  as  indicated  above,  that  some  specially  powerful 
body  of  Hindus  coming  from  the  region  of  Gujarat  and  professing 
Buddhism  founded  in  Java  a  new  state. 

As  to  the  character  of  this  early  Javanese  Buddhism  we  have 
the  testimony  of  I-Ching  that  it  was  of  the  Mulasarvastivadin 
school  and  Hinayanist.  He  wrote  of  what  he  had  seen  in 
Sumatra  but  of  what  he  knew  only  by  hearsay  in  Java  and  his 
statement  offers  some  difficulties.  Probably  Hinayanism  was 
introduced  by  Gunavarman  but  was  superseded  by  other 
teachings  which  were  imported  from  time  to  time  after  they  had 
won  for  themselves  a  position  in  India.  For  the  temple  of 
Kalasan  (A.D.  779)  is  dedicated  to  Tara  and  the  inscription 
found  there  speaks  of  the  Mahay  ana  with  veneration.  The  later 
Buddhism  of  Java  has  literary  records  which,  so  far  as  I  know, 
are  unreservedly  Mahay anist  but  probably  the  sculptures  of 
Boroboedoer  are  the  most  definite  expression  which  we  shall 
ever  have  of  its  earlier  phases.  Since  they  contain  images  of  the 
five  superhuman  Buddhas  and  of  numerous  Bodhisattvas,  they 
can  hardly  be  called  anything  but  Mahayanist.  But  on  the 
other  hand  the  personality  of  Sakyamuni  is  emphasized ;  his  life 
and  previous  births  are  pictured  in  a  long  series  of  sculptures 
and  Maitreya  is  duly  honoured.  Similar  collections  of  pictures 
and  images  may  be  seen  in  Burma  which  differ  doctrinally  from 
those  in  Java  chiefly  by  substituting  the  four  human  Buddhas1 
and  Maitreya  for  the  superhuman  Buddhas.  But  Mahayanist 
teaching  declares  that  these  human  Buddhas  are  reflexes  of 

1  Gotama,  Kassapa,  Konagamana  and  Kakusandha. 


counterparts  of  the  superhuman  Buddhas  so  that  the  difference 
is  not  great. 

Mahay anist  Buddhism  in  Camboja  and  at  a  later  period  in 
Java  itself  was  inextricably  combined  with  Hinduism,  Buddha 
being  either  directly  identified  with  Siva  or  regarded  as  the 
primordial  spirit  from  which  Siva  and  all  gods  spring.  But  the 
sculptures  of  Boroboedoer  do  not  indicate  that  the  artists  knew 
of  any  such  amalgamation  nor  have  inscriptions  been  found 
there,  as  in  Camboja,  which  explain  this  compound  theology. 
It  would  seem  that  Buddhism  and  Brahmanism  co-existed  in 
the  same  districts  but  had  not  yet  begun  to  fuse  doctrinally. 
The  same  condition  seems  to  have  prevailed  in  western  India 
during  the  seventh  and  eighth  centuries,  for  the  Buddhist  caves 
of  Ellora,  though  situated  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Brahmanic 
buildings  and  approximating  to  them  in  style,  contain  sculptures 
which  indicate  a  purely  Buddhist  cultus  and  not  a  mixed 

Our  meagre  knowledge  of  Javanese  history  makes  it  difficult 
to  estimate  the  spheres  and  relative  strength  of  the  two  religions. 
In  the  plains  the  Buddhist  monuments  are  more  numerous  and 
also  more  ancient  and  we  might  suppose  that  the  temples  of 
Prambanan  indicate  the  beginning  of  some  change  in  belief. 
But  the  temples  on  the  Dieng  plateau  seem  to  be  of  about  the 
same  age  as  the  oldest  Buddhist  monuments.  Thus  nothing 
refutes  the  supposition  that  Brahmanism  existed  in  Java  from 
the  time  of  the  first  Hindu  colonists  and  that  Buddhism  was 
introduced  after  400  A.D.  It  may  be  that  Boroboedoer  and  the 
Dieng  plateau  represent  the  religious  centres  of  two  different 
kingdoms.  But  this  supposition  is  not  necessary  for  in  India, 
whence  the  Javanese  received  their  ideas,  groups  of  temples  are 
found  of  the  same  age  but  belonging  to  different  sects.  Thus  in 
the  Khajraho  group1  some  shrines  are  Jain  and  of  the  rest  some 
are  dedicated  to  Siva  and  some  to  Vishnu. 

The  earliest  records  of  Javanese  Brahmanism,  the  inscrip 
tions  of  Purnavarman,  are  Vishnuite  but  the  Brahmanism  which 
prevailed  in  the  eighth  and  ninth  centuries  was  in  the  main 
Sivaite,  though  not  of  a  strongly  sectarian  type.  Brahma, 
Vishnu  and  Siva  were  all  worshipped  both  at  Prambanan  and 
on  the  Dieng  but  Siva  together  with  Ganesa,  Durga,  and  Nandi 

1  About  950-1050  A.D.   Fergusson,  Hist,  of  Indian  Architecture,  n.  p.  141. 


is  evidently  the  chief  deity.  An  image  of  Siva  in  the  form  of 
Bhatara  Guru  or  Mahaguru  is  installed  in  one  of  the  shrines  at 
Prambanan.  This  deity  is  characteristic  of  Javanese  Hinduism 
and  apparently  peculiar  to  it.  He  is  represented  as  an  elderly 
bearded  man  wearing  a  richly  ornamented  costume.  There  is 
something  in  the  pose  and  drapery  which  recalls  Chinese  art 
and  I  think  the  figure  is  due  to  Chinese  influence,  for  at  the 
present  day  many  of  the  images  found  in  the  temples  of  Bali 
are  clearly  imitated  from  Chinese  models  (or  perhaps  made  by 
Chinese  artists)  and  this  may  have  happened  in  earlier  times. 
The  Chinese  annals  record  several  instances  of  religious  objects 
being  presented  by  the  Emperors  to  Javanese  princes.  Though 
Bhatara  Guru  is  only  an  aspect  of  Siva  he  is  a  sufficiently  distinct 
personality  to  have  a  shrine  of  his  own  like  Ganesa  and  Durga, 
in  temples  where  the  principal  image  of  Siva  is  of  another  kind. 
The  same  type  of  Brahmanism  lasted  at  least  until  the 
erection  of  Panataran  (c.  1150).  The  temple  appears  to  have 
been  dedicated  to  Siva  but  like  Prambanan  it  is  ornamented 
with  scenes  from  the  Ramayana  and  from  Vishnuite  Puranas1. 
The  literature  which  can  be  definitely  assigned  to  the  reigns  of 
Djajabaja  and  Erlangga  is  Brahmanic  in  tone  but  both  literature 
and  monuments  indicate  that  somewhat  later  there  was  a  re 
vival  of  Buddhism.  Something  similar  appears  to  have  happened 
in  other  countries.  In  Camboja  the  inscriptions  of  Jayavarman 
VII  (c.  1185  A.D.)  are  more  definitely  Buddhist  than  those  of 
his  predecessors  and  in  1296  Chou  Ta-kuan  regarded  the  country 
as  mainly  Buddhist.  Parakrama  Bahu  of  Ceylon  (1153-1186) 
was  zealous  for  the  faith  and  so  were  several  kings  of  Siam.  I  am 
inclined  to  think  that  this  movement  was  a  consequence  of  the 
flourishing  condition  of  Buddhism  at  Pagan  in  Burma  from 
1050  to  1250.  Pagan  certainly  stimulated  religion  in  both  Siam 
and  Ceylon  and  Siam  reacted  strongly  on  Camboja2.  It  is  true 
that  the  later  Buddhism  of  Java  was  by  no  means  of  the 
Siamese  type,  but  probably  the  idea  was  current  that  the  great 
kings  of  the  world  were  pious  Buddhists  and  consequently  in 

1  Sec  Knebel,  "Recherches  preparatoires  concernant  Krishna  et  lea  bas  reliefs 
des  temples  de  Java"  in  Tijdschrift,  LI.  1909,  pp.  97-174. 

2  In  Camboja  the  result  seems  to  have  been  double.    Pali  Buddhism  entered 
from  Siam  and  ultimately  conquered  all  other  forms  of  religion,  but  for  some  time 
Mahay anist  Buddhism,  which  was  older  in  Camboja,  revived  and  received  Court 


most  countries  the  local  form  of  Buddhism,  whatever  it  was, 
began  to  be  held  in  esteem.  Java  had  constant  communication 
with  Camboja  and  Champa  and  a  king  of  Madjapahit  married 
a  princess  of  the  latter  country.  It  is  also  possible  that  a  direct 
stimulus  may  have  been  received  from  India,  for  the  statement 
of  Taranatha1  that  when  Bihar  was  sacked  by  the  Moham 
medans  the  Buddhist  teachers  fled  to  other  regions  and  that 
some  of  them  went  to  Camboja  is  not  improbable. 

But  though  the  prestige  of  Buddhism  increased  in  the 
thirteenth  century,  no  rupture  with  Brahmanism  took  place  and 
Pali  Buddhism  does  not  appear  to  have  entered  Java.  The  unity 
of  the  two  religions  is  proclaimed:  Buddha  and  Siva  are  one. 
But  the  Kamahayanikan  while  admitting  the  Trimurti  makes 
it  a  derivative,  and  not  even  a  primary  derivative,  of  the 
original  Buddha  spirit.  It  has  been  stated  that  the  religion  of 
Java  in  the  Madjapahit  epoch  was  Sivaism  with  a  little  Buddhism 
thrown  in,  on  the  understanding  that  it  was  merely  another 
method  of  formulating  the  same  doctrine.  It  is  very  likely  that 
the  bulk  of  the  population  worshipped  Hindu  deities,  for  they 
are  the  gods  of  this  world  and  dispense  its  good  things.  Yet  the 
natives  still  speak  of  the  old  religion  as  Buddhagama;  the  old 
times  are  "Buddha  times"  and  even  the  flights  of  stairs  leading 
up  to  the  Dieng  plateau  are  called  Buddha  steps.  This  would 
hardly  be  so  if  in  the  Madjapahit  epoch  Buddha  had  not  seemed 
to  be  the  most  striking  figure  in  the  non-Mohammedan  religion. 
Also,  the  majority  of  religious  works  which  have  survived  from 
this  period  are  Buddhist.  It  is  true  that  we  have  the  Ramayana, 
the  Bharata  Yuddha  and  many  other  specimens  of  Brahmanic 
literature.  But  these,  especially  in  their  Javanese  dress,  are 
belles  lettres  rather  than  theology,  whereas  Kamahayanikan  and 
Kunjarakarna  are  dogmatic  treatises.  Hence  it  would  appear 
that  the  religious  life  of  Madjapahit  was  rooted  in  Buddhism, 
but  a  most  tolerant  Buddhism  which  had  no  desire  to  repudiate 

I  have  already  briefly  analysed  the  Sang  Hyang  Kama 
hayanikan  which  seems  to  be  the  most  authoritative  exposition 
of  this  creed.  The  learned  editor  has  collected  many  parallels 
from  Tibetan  and  Nepalese  works  and  similar  parallels  between 
Javanese  and  Tibetan  iconography  have  been  indicated  by 

1  Chap.  37. 


Pleyte1  and  others.  The  explanation  must  be  that  the  late  forms 
of  Buddhist  art  and  doctrine  which  flourished  in  Magadha  spread 
to  Tibet  and  Nepal  but  were  also  introduced  into  Java.  The 
Kamahayanikan  appears  to  be  a  paraphrase  of  a  Sanskrit 
original,  perhaps  distorted  and  mutilated.  This  original  has  not 
been  identified  with  any  work  known  to  exist  in  India  but  might 
well  be  a  Mahayanist  catechism  composed  there  about  the 
eleventh  century.  The  terminology  of  the  treatise  is  peculiar, 
particularly  in  calling  the  ultimate  principle  Advaya  and  the 
more  personal  manifestation  of  it  Divarupa.  The  former  term 
may  be  paralleled  in  Hemacandra  and  the  Amarakosha,  which 
give  respectively  as  synonyms  for  Buddha,  advaya  (in  whom  is 
no  duality)  and  advayavadin  (who  preaches  no  duality),  but 
Divarupa  has  not  been  found  in  any  other  work2.  It  is  also 
remarkable  that  the  Kamahayanikan  does  not  teach  the 
doctrine  of  the  three  bodies  of  Buddha3.  It  clearly  states4  that 
the  Divarupa  is  identical  with  the  highest  being  worshipped  by 
various  sects:  with  Paramasunya,  Paramasiva,  the  Purusha  of 
the  followers  of  Kapila,  the  Nirguna  of  the  Vishnuites,  etc. 
Many  names  of  sects  and  doctrines  are  mentioned  which  remain 
obscure,  but  the  desire  to  represent  them  all  as  essentially 
identical  is  obvious. 

The  Kamahayanikan  recognizes  the  theoretical  identity  of 
the  highest  principles  in  Buddhism  and  Vishnuism5  but  it  does 
not  appear  that  Vishnu-Buddha  was  ever  a  popular  conception 
like  Siva-Buddha  or  that  the  compound  deity  called  Siva- 
Vishnu,  Hari-Hara,  Sarikara-Narayana,  etc.,  so  well  known  in 
Camboja,  enjoyed  much  honour  in  Java..  Vishnu  is  relegated 
to  a  distinctly  secondary  position  and  the  Javanese  version  of 
the  Mahabharata  is  more  distinctly  Sivaite  than  the  Sanskrit 
text.  Still  he  has  a  shrine  at  Prambanan,  the  story  of  the 
Bamayana  is  depicted  there  and  at  Panataran,  and  various 

1  "Bijdrage totdeKennis  vanhetMahayanaopJava"in£yd. totdeTaal  Land  en 
Volkenkunde  van  Nederlandsch-Indie,  1901  and  1902. 

a  This  use  of  advaya  and  advayavadin  strengthens  the  suspicion  that  the 
origins  of  the  Advaita  philosophy  are  to  be  sought  in  Buddhism. 

*  It  uses  the  word  trikaya  but  expressly  defines  it  as  meaning  Kaya,  vak  and 

4  In  a  passage  which  is  not  translated  from  the  Sanskrit  and  may  therefore 
reflect  the  religious  condition  of  Java. 

8  So  too  in  the  Sutasoma  Jataka  Amoghasiddhi  is  said  to  be  Vishnu. 


unedited  manuscripts  contain  allusions  to  his  worship,  more 
especially  to  his  incarnation  as  Narasimha  and  to  the  Garuda 
on  which  he  rides1. 


At  present  nearly  all  the  inhabitants  of  Java  profess  Islam 
although  the  religion  of  a  few  tribes,  such  as  the  Tenggarese,  is 
still  a  mixture  of  Hinduism  with  indigenous  beliefs.  But  even 
among  nominal  Moslims  some  traces  of  the  older  creed  survive. 
On  festival  days  such  monuments  as  Boroboedoer  and  Pram- 
banan  are  frequented  by  crowds  who,  if  they  offer  no  worship, 
at  least  take  pleasure  in  examining  the  ancient  statues.  Some 
of  these  however  receive  more  definite  honours :  they  are  painted 
red  and  modest  offerings  of  flowers  and  fruit  are  laid  before  them. 
Yet  the  respect  shown  to  particular  images  seems  due  not  to 
old  tradition  but  to  modern  and  wrongheaded  interpretations 
of  their  meaning.  Thus  at  Boroboedoer  the  relief  which  represents 
the  good  tortoise  saving  a  shipwrecked  crew  receives  offerings 
from  women  because  the  small  figures  on  the  tortoise's  back  are 
supposed  to  be  children.  The  minor  forms  of  Indian  mythology 
still  flourish.  All  classes  believe  in  the  existence  of  raksasas, 
boetas  (bhutas)  and  widadaris  (vidyadharis),  who  are  regarded 
as  spirits  similar  to  the  Jinns  of  the  Arabs.  Lakshmi  survives 
in  the  female  genius  believed  even  by  rigid  Mohammedans  to 
preside  over  the  cultivation  of  rice  and  the  somewhat  disreput 
able  sect  known  as  Santri  Birahis  are  said  to  adore  devas  and 
the  forces  of  nature2.  Less  obvious,  but  more  important  as  more 
deeply  affecting  the  national  character,  is  the  tendency  towards 
mysticism  and  asceticism!  What  is  known  as  ngelmoe3  plays 
a  considerable  part  in  the  religious  life  of  the  modern  Javanese. 
The  word  is  simply  the  Arabic  'ilm  (or  knowledge)  used  in  the 
sense  of  secret  science.  It  sometimes  signifies  mere  magic  but 
the  higher  forms  of  it,  such  as  the  ngelmoe  peling,  are  said  to 
teach  that  the  contemplative  life  is  the  way  to  the  knowledge 
of  God  and  the  attainment  of  supernatural  powers.  With  such 

1  See  Juynboll  in  Bijdragen  tot  de  Taal  Land  en  Volkenkundc  van  Ned.-Indie, 
1908,  pp.  412-420. 

2  Veth,  Java,  vol.  iv.  p.  154.  The  whole  chapter  contains  much  information 
about  the  Hindu  elements  in  modern  Javanese  religion. 

3  See  Veth,  I.e.  and  ngelmoe  in  Encycl.  van  Nederlandsch-Indie. 


ngelmoe  is  often  connected  a  belief  in  metempsychosis,  in  the 
illusory  nature  of  the  world,  and  in  the  efficacy  of  regulating 
the  breath.  Asceticism  is  still  known  under  the  name  of  tapa 
and  it  is  said  that  there  are  many  recluses  who  live  on  alms 
and  spend  their  time  in  meditation.  The  affinity  of  all  this  to 
Indian  religion  is  obvious,  although  the  Javanese  have  no  idea 
that  it  is  in  any  way  incompatible  with  orthodox  Islam. 

Indian  religion,  which  in  Java  is  represented  merely  by  the 
influence  of  the  past  on  the  present,  is  not  dead  in  Bali1  where, 
though  much  mixed  with  aboriginal  superstitions,  it  is  still  a 
distinct  and  national  faith,  able  to  hold  its  own  against  Moham 
medanism  and  Christianity2. 

The  island  of  Bali  is  divided  from  the  east  coast  of  Java  only 
by  a  narrow  strait  but  the  inhabitants  possess  certain  characters 
of  their  own.  They  are  more  robust  in  build,  their  language  is  dis 
tinct  from  Javanese  though  belonging  to  the  same  group,  and  even 
the  alphabet  presents  idiosyncrasies.  Their  laws,  social  institu 
tions,  customs  and  calendar  show  many  peculiarities,  explicable 
on  the  supposition  that  they  have  preserved  the  ancient  usages 
of  pre-Mohammedan  Java.  At  present  the  population  is  divided 
hi  to  the  Bali-Agas  or  aborigines  and  the  Wong  Madjapahit  who 
profess  to  have  immigrated  from  that  kingdom.  The  Chinese 
references3  to  Bali  seem  uncertain  but,  if  accepted,  indicate  that 
it  was  known  in  the  middle  ages  as  a  religious  centre.  It  was 
probably  a  colony  and  dependency  of  Madjapahit  and  when 
Madjapahit  fell  it  became  a  refuge  for  those  who  were  not  willing 
to  accept  Islam. 

Caste  is  still  a  social  institution  in  Bali,  five  classes  being 
recognized,  namely  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas  (Satriyas),  Vaisyas 
(Visias),  Sudras  and  Farias.  These  distinctions  are  rigidly 
observed  and  though  intermarriage  (which  in  former  times  was 
often  punished  with  death)  is  now  permitted,  the  offspring  are 
not  recognized  as  belonging  to  the  caste  of  the  superior  parent. 
The  bodies  of  the  dead  are  burned  and  Sati,  which  was  formerly 
frequent,  is  believed  still  to  take  place  in  noble  families.  Pork 

1  Also  to  some  extent  in  Lombok.  The  Balinese  were  formerly  the  ruling  class 
in  this  island  and  are  still  found  there  in  considerable  numbers. 

2  It  has  even  been  suggested  that  hinduized  Malays  carried  some  faint  traces  of 
Indian  religion  to  Madagascar.    See  T'oung  Poo    1906,  p.  93,  where  Zanahari  is 
explained  as  Yang  ( =God  in  Malay)  Hari. 

8  Groeneveldt,  pp.  19,  58,  59. 


is  the  only  meat  used  and,  as  in  other  Hindu  countries,  oxen 
are  never  slaughtered. 

An  idea  of  the  Balinese  religion  may  perhaps  be  given  most 
easily  by  describing  some  of  the  temples.  These  are  very  abund 
ant  :  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Boeleling  (the  capital)  alone  I  have 
seen  more  than  ten  of  considerable  size.  As  buildings  they  are 
not  ancient,  for  the  stone  used  is  soft  and  does  not  last  much 
more  than  fifty  years.  But  when  the  edifices  are  rebuilt  the 
ancient  shape  is  preserved  and  what  we  see  in  Bali  to-day 
probably  represents  the  style  of  the  middle  ages.  The  temples 
consist  of  two  or  more  courts  surrounded  by  high  walls.  Worship 
is  performed  in  the  open  air :  there  are  various  pyramids,  seats, 
and  small  shrines  like  dovecots  but  no  halls  or  rooms.  The  gates 
are  ornamented  with  the  heads  of  monsters,  especially  lions 
with  large  ears  and  winglike  expansions  at  the  side.  The  outer 
most  gate  has  a  characteristic  shape.  It  somewhat  resembles  an 
Indian  gopuram  divided  into  two  parts  by  a  sharp,  clean  cut  in 
the  middle  and  tradition  quotes  in  explanation  the  story  of  a 
king  who  was  refused  entrance  to  heaven  but  cleft  a  passage 
through  the  portal  with  his  sword. 

In  the  outer  court  stand  various  sheds  and  hollow  wooden 
cylinders  which  when  struck  give  a  sound  like  bells.  Another 
ornamented  doorway  leads  to  the  second  court  where  are  found 
some  or  all  of  the  following  objects :  (a)  Sacred  trees,  especially 
Ficus  elastica.  (b)  Sheds  with  seats  for  human  beings.  It  is  said 
that  on  certain  occasions  these  are  used  by  mediums  who  be 
come  inspired  by  the  gods  and  then  give  oracles,  (c)  Seats  for 
the  gods,  generally  under  sheds.  They  are  of  various  kinds. 
There  is  usually  one  conspicuous  chair  with  an  ornamental  back 
and  a  scroll  hanging  behind  it  which  bears  some  such  inscription 
as  "This  is  the  chair  of  the  Bhatara."  Any  deity  may  be 
invited  to  take  this  seat  and  receive  worship.  Sometimes  a  stone 
linga  is  placed  upon  it.  In  some  temples  a  stone  chair,  called 
padmasana,  is  set  apart  for  Surya.  (d)  Small  shrines  two  or 
three  feet  high,  set  on  posts  or  pedestals.  When  well  executed 
they  are  similar  to  the  cabinets  used  in  Japanese  temples  as 
shrines  for  images  but  when,  as  often  happens,  they  are  roughly 
made  they  are  curiously  like  dovecots.  On  them  are  hung  strips 
of  dried  palm -leaves  in  bunches  like  the  Japanese  gohei.  As  a 
rule  the  shrines  contain  no  image  but  only  a  small  seat  and  some 


objects  said  to  be  stones  which  are  wrapped  up  in  a  cloth  and 
called  Artjeh1.  In  some  temples  (e.g.  the  Bale  Agoeng  at 
Singaraja)  there  are  erections  called  Meru,  supposed  to  represent 
the  sacred  mountain  where  the  gods  reside.  They  consist  of  a 
stout  pedestal  or  basis  of  brick  on  which  is  erected  a  cabinet 
shrine  as  already  described.  Above  this  are  large  round  discs 
made  of  straw  and  wood,  which  may  be  described  as  curved 
roofs  or  umbrellas.  They  are  from  three  to  five  in  number  and 
rise  one  above  the  other,  with  slight  intervals  between  them. 
(e)  In  many  temples  (for  instance  at  Sangsit  and  Sawan) 
pyramidal  erections  are  found  either  in  addition  to  the  Merus 
or  instead  of  them.  At  the  end  of  the  second  court  is  a  pyramid 
in  four  stages  or  terraces,  often  with  prolongations  at  the  side 
of  the  main  structure  or  at  right  angles  to  it.  It  is  ascended  by 
several  staircases,  consisting  of  about  twenty-five  steps,  and  at 
the  top  are  rows  of  cabinet  shrines. 

Daily  worship  is  not  performed  in  these  temples  but  offerings 
are  laid  before  the  shrines  from  time  to  time  by  those  who  need 
the  help  of  the  gods  and  there  are  several  annual  festivals.  The 
object  of  the  ritual  is  not  to  honour  any  image  or  object  habitually 
kept  in  the  temple  but  to  induce  the  gods,  who  are  supposed  to 
be  hovering  round  like  birds,  to  seat  themselves  in  the  chair 
providecl  or  to  enter  into  some  sacred  object,  and  then  receive 
homage  and  offerings.  Thus  both  the  ideas  and  ceremonial  are 
different  from  those  which  prevail  in  Hindu  temples  and  have 
more  affinity  with  Polynesian  beliefs.  The  deities  are  called 
Dewa,  but  many  of  them  are  indigenous  nature  spirits  (especially 
mountain  spirits)  such  as  Dewa  Gunung  Agung,  who  are  some 
times  identified  with  Indian  gods. 

Somewhat  different  are  the  Durga  temples.  These  are 
dedicated  to  the  spirits  of  the  dead  but  the  images  of  Durga 
and  her  attendant  Kaliki  receive  veneration  in  them,  much  as 
in  Hindu  temples.  But  on  the  whole  the  Malay  or  Polynesian 
element  seemed  to  me  to  be  in  practice  stronger  than  Hinduism 
in  the  religion  of  the  Balinese  and  this  is  borne  out  by  the  fact 
that  the  Pemangku  or  priest  of  the  indigenous  gods  ranks 
higher  than  the  Pedanda  or  Brahman  priest.  But  by  talking  to 
Balinese  one  may  obtain  a  different  impression,  for  they  are 
proud  of  their  connection  with  Madjapahit  and  Hinduism :  they 

1  This  word  appears  to  be  the  Sanskrit  area,  an  image  for  worship. 


willingly  speak  of  such  subjects  and  Hindu  deities  are  constantly 
represented  in  works  of  art.  Ganesa,  Indra,  Vishnu,  Krishna, 
Surya,  Garuda  and  Siva,  as  well  as  the  heroes  of  the  Mahabha- 
rata,  are  well  known  but  I  have  not  heard  of  worship  being 
offered  to  any  of  them  except  Durga  and  Siva  under  the  form 
of  the  linga.  Figures  of  Vishnu  riding  on  Garuda  are  very 
common  and  a  certain  class  of  artificers  are  able  to  produce 
images  of  all  well  known  Indian  gods  for  those  who  care  to 
order  them.  Many  Indian  works  such  as  the  Veda,  Mahabharata, 
Ramayana,  Brahmapurana  and  Nitisastra  are  known  by  name 
and  are  said  to  exist  not  in  the  original  Sanskrit  but  in  Kawi. 
I  fancy  that  they  are  rarely  read  by  the  present  generation,  but 
any  knowledge  of  them  is  much  respected.  The  Balinese  though 
confused  in  their  theology  are  greatly  attached  to  their  religion 
and  believe  it  is  the  ancient  faith  of  Madjapahit. 

I  was  unable  to  discover  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Singaraja 
even  such  faint  traces  of  Buddhism  as  have  been  reported  by 
previous  authors1,  but  they  may  exist  elsewhere.  The  expression 
Siva-Buddha  was  known  to  the  Pedandas  but  seemed  to  have 
no  living  significance,  and  perhaps  certain  families  have  a 
traditional  and  purely  nominal  connection  with  Buddhism.  In 
Durga  temples  however  I  have  seen  figures  described  as  Pusa, 
the  Chinese  equivalent  of  Bodhisattva,  and  it  seems  that 
Chinese  artists  have  reintroduced  into  this  miscellaneous 
pantheon  an  element  of  corrupt  Buddhism,  though  the  natives 
do  not  recognize  it  as  such. 

The  art  of  Bali  is  more  fantastic  than  that  of  ancient  Java. 
The  carved  work,  whether  in  stone  or  wood,  is  generally 
polychromatic.  Figures  are  piled  one  on  the  top  of  another  as 
in  the  sculptures  of  Central  America  and  there  is  a  marked 
tendency  to  emphasize  projections.  Leaves  and  flowers  are  very 
deeply  carved  and  such  features  as  ears,  tongues  and  teeth  are 
monstrously  prolonged.  Thus  Balinese  statues  and  reliefs  have 
a  curiously  bristling  and  scaly  appearance  and  are  apt  to  seem 
barbaric,  especially  if  taken  separately2.  Yet  the  general  aspect 
of  the  temples  is  not  unpleasing.  The  brilliant  colours  and 

1  E.g.  Van  Eerde,  "Hindu  Javaansche  en  Balische  Eeredienst"  in  Bijd.  T.  L. 
en  Volkenkunde  van  Neder landsc h -Indie,  1910.   I  visited  Bali  in  1911. 

2  See  Pleyte,  Indonesian  Art,  1901,  especially  the  seven-headed  figure  in  plate 
XVI  said  to  be  Krishna. 


fantastic  outlines  harmonize  with  the  tropical  vegetation  which 
surrounds  them  and  suggest  that  the  guardian  deities  take  shape 
as  gorgeous  insects.  Such  bizarre  figures  are  not  unknown  in 
Indian  mythology  but  in  Balinese  art  Chinese  influence  is 
perhaps  stronger  than  Indian.  The  Chinese  probably  frequented 
the  island  as  early  as  the  Hindus  and  are  now  found  there  in 
abundance.  Besides  the  statues  called  Pusa  already  mentioned, 
Chinese  landscapes  are  often  painted  behind  the  seats  of  the 
Devas  and  in  the  temple  on  the  Volcano  Batoer,  where  a  special 
place  is  assigned  to  all  the  Balinese  tribes,  the  Chinese  have  their 
own  shrine.  It  is  said  that  the  temples  in  southern  Bali  which 
are  older  and  larger  than  those  in  the  north  show  even  more 
decided  signs  of  Chinese  influence  and  are  surrounded  by  stone 
figures  of  Chinese  as  guardians. 

m.  13 


THE  term  Central  Asia  is  here  used  to  denote  the  Tarim  basin, 
without  rigidly  excluding  neighbouring  countries  such  as  the 
Oxus  region  and  Badakshan.  This  basin  is  a  depression  sur 
rounded  on  three  sides  by  high  mountains :  only  on  the  east  is 
the  barrier  dividing  it  from  China  relatively  low.  The  water  of 
the  whole  area  discharges  through  the  many  branched  Tarim 
river  into  Lake  Lobnor.  This  so-called  lake  is  now  merely  a 
flooded  morass  and  the  basin  is  a  desert  with  occasional  oases 
lying  chiefly  near  its  edges.  The  fertile  portions  were  formerly 
more  considerable  but  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago  this  remote 
and  lonely  region  interested  no  one  but  a  few  sportsmen  and 
geographers.  The  results  of  recent  exploration  have  been  im 
portant  and  surprising.  The  arid  sands  have  yielded  not  only 
ruins,  statues  and  frescoes  but  whole  libraries  written  in  a  dozen 
languages.  The  value  of  such  discoveries  for  the  general  history 
of  Asia  is  clear  and  they  are  of  capital  importance  for  our  special 
subject,  since  during  many  centuries  the  Tarim  region  and  its 
neighbouring  lands  were  centres  and  highways  for  Buddhism 
and  possibly  the  scene  of  many  changes  whose  origin  is  now 
obscure.  But  I  am  unfortunate  in  having  to  discuss  Central 
Asian  Buddhism  before  scholars  have  had  time  to  publish  or 
even  catalogue  completely  the  store  of  material  collected  and 
the  reader  must  remember  that  the  statements  in  this  chapter 
are  at  best  tentative  and  incomplete.  They  will  certainly  be 
supplemented  and  probably  corrected  as  year  by  year  new 
documents  and  works  of  art  are  made  known. 

Tarim,  in  watery  metaphor,  is  not  so  much  a  basin  as  a  pool 
in  a  tidal  river  flowing  alternately  to  and  from  the  sea.  We  can 
imagine  that  in  such  a  pool  creatures  of  very  different  proven 
ance  might  be  found  together.  So  currents  both  from  east  to 
west  and  from  west  to  east  passed  through  the  Tarim,  leaving 
behind  whatever  could  live  there:  Chinese  administration  and 

CH.  xu]  CENTRAL  ASIA  189 

civilization  from  the  east :  Iranians  from  the  west,  bearing  with 
them  in  the  stream  fragments  that  had  drifted  from  Asia  Minor 
and  Byzantium,  while  still  other  currents  brought  Hindus  and 
Tibetans  from  the  south. 

One  feature  of  special  interest  in  the  history  of  the  Tarim 
is  that  it  was  in  touch  with  Bactria  and  the  regions  conquered 
by  Alexander  and  through  them  with  western  art  and  thought. 
Another  is  that  its  inhabitants  included  not  only  Iranian  tribes 
but  the  speakers  of  an  Aryan  language  hitherto  unknown,  whose 
presence  so  far  east  may  oblige  us  to  revise  our  views  about  the 
history  of  the  Aryan  race.  A  third  characteristic  is  that  from 
the  dawn  of  history  to  the  middle  ages  warlike  nomads  were 
continually  passing  through  the  country.  All  these  people, 
whether  we  call  them  Iranians,  Turks  or  Mongols  had  the  same 
peculiarity :  they  had  little  culture  of  their  own  but  they  picked 
up  and  transported  the  ideas  of  others.  The  most  remarkable  ex 
ample  of  this  is  the  introduction  of  Islam  into  Europe  and  India. 
Nothing  quite  so  striking  happened  in  earlier  ages,  yet  tribes  similar 
to  the  Turks  brought  Manichseism  and  Nestorian  Christianity  into 
China  and  played  no  small  part  in  the  introduction  of  Buddhism. 

A  brief  catalogue  of  the  languages  represented  in  the  manu 
scripts  and  inscriptions  discovered  will  give  a  safe  if  only 
provisional  idea  of  the  many  influences  at  work  in  Central  Asia 
and  its  importance  as  a  receiving  and  distributing  centre.  The 
number  of  tongues  simultaneously  in  use  for  popular  or  learned 
purposes  was  remarkably  large.  To  say  nothing  of  great  polyglot 
libraries  like  Tun-huang,  a  small  collection  at  Toyog  is  reported 
as  containing  Indian,  Manichaean,  Syriac,  Sogdian,  Uigur  and 
Chinese  books.  The  writing  materials  employed  were  various 
like  the  idioms  and  include  imported  palm  leaves,  birch  bark, 
plates  of  wood  or  bamboo,  leather  and  paper,  which  last  was  in 
use  from  the  first  century  A.D.  onwards.  In  this  dry  atmosphere 
all  enjoyed  singular  longevity. 

Numerous  Sanskrit  writings  have  been  found,  all  dealing 
with  religious  or  quasi  religious  subjects,  as  medicine  and 
grammar  were  then  considered  to  be.  Relatively  modern 
Mahayanist  literature  is  abundant  but  greater  interest  attaches 
to  portions  of  an  otherwise  lost  Sanskrit  canon  which  agree  in 
substance  though  not  verbally  with  the  corresponding  passages 
in  the  Pali  Canon  and  are  apparently  the  original  text  from 


which  much  of  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  was  translated.  The 
manuscripts  hitherto  published  include  Sutras  from  the  Sam- 
yukta  and  Ekottara  Agamas,  a  considerable  part  of  the 
Dharmapada,  and  the  Pratimoksha  of  the  Sarvastivadin  school. 
Fa-Hsien  states  that  the  monks  of  Central  Asia  were  all  students 
of  the  language  of  India  and  even  in  the  seventh  century  Hsiian 
Chuang  tells  us  the  same  of  Kucha.  Portions  of  a  Sanskrit 
grammar  have  been  found  near  Turfan  and  in  the  earlier  period 
at  any  rate  Sanskrit  was  probably  understood  in  polite  and 
learned  society.  Some  palm  leaves  from  Ming-Oi  contain  frag 
ments  of  two  Buddhist  religious  dramas,  one  of  which  is  the 
Sariputra-prakarana  of  Asvaghosha.  The  handwriting  is  believed 
to  date  from  the  epoch  of  Kanishka  so  that  we  have  here  the 
oldest  known  Sanskrit  manuscripts,  as  well  as  the  oldest 
specimens  of  Indian  dramatic  art1.  They  are  written  like  the 
Indian  classical  dramas  in  Sanskrit  and  various  forms  of 
Prakrit.  The  latter  represent  hitherto  unknown  stages  in  the 
development  of  Indian  dialects  and  some  of  them  are  closely 
allied  to  the  language  of  Asoka's  inscriptions.  Another  Prakrit 
text  is  the  version  of  the  Dharmapada  written  in  Kharoshthi 
characters  and  discovered  by  the  Dutreuil  de  Rhins  mission 
near  Khotan2,  and  numerous  official  documents  in  this  language 
and  alphabet  have  been  brought  home  by  Stein  from  the  same 
region.  It  is  probable  that  they  are  approximately  coeval  with 
the  Kushan  dynasty  in  India  and  the  use  of  an  Indian  vernacular 
as  well  as  of  Sanskrit  in  Central  Asia  shows  that  the  connection 
between  the  two  countries  was  not  due  merely  to  the  intro 
duction  of  Buddhism. 

Besides  these  hitherto  unknown  forms  of  Prakrit,  Central 
Asia  has  astonished  the  learned  world  with  two  new  languages, 
both  written  in  a  special  variety  of  the  Brahmi  alphabet  called 
Central  Asian  Gupta.  One  is  sometimes  called  Nordarisch  and 
is  regarded  by  some  authorities  as  the  language  of  the  Sakas 
whose  incursions  into  India  appear  to  have  begun  about  the 
second  century  B.C.  and  by  others  as  the  language  of  the 
Kushans  and  of  Kanishka's  Empire.  It  is  stated  that  the  basis 
of  the  language  is  Iranian  but  strongly  influenced  by  Indian 

1  See  Liiders,  Bruchstilcke  Buddhistischer  Dramen,  1911,  and  id.,  Das  Sdriputra- 
prakarana,  1911. 

2  See  Senart,  "Le  ms  Kharoshthi  du  Dhammapada,"  in  J.A.,  1898,  n.  p.  193. 

xu]  CENTRAL  ASIA  191 

idioms1.  Many  translations  of  Mahay anist  literature  (for  instance 
the  Suvarnaprabhasa,  Vajracchedika  and  Aparimitayus  Sutras) 
were  made  into  it  and  it  appears  to  have  been  spoken  principally 
in  the  southern  part  of  the  Tarim  basin2.  The  other  new  language 
was  spoken  principally  on  its  northern  edge  and  has  been  called 
Tokharian,  which  name  implies  that  it  was  the  tongue  of  the 
Tokhars  or  Indoscyths3.  But  there  is  no  proof  of  this  and  it  is 
safer  to  speak  of  it  as  the  language  of  Kucha  or  Kuchanese.  It 
exists  in  two  different  dialects  known  as  A  and  B  whose  geo 
graphical  distribution  is  uncertain  but  numerous  official 
documents  dated  in  the  first  half  of  the  seventh  century  show 
that  it  was  the  ordinary  speech  of  Kucha  and  Turfan.  It  was 
also  a  literary  language  and  among  the  many  translations  dis 
covered  are  versions  in  it  of  the  Dharmapada  and  Vinaya.  It  is 
extremely  interesting  to  find  that  this  language  spoken  by  the 
early  and  perhaps  original  inhabitants  of  Kucha  not  only  belongs 
to  the  Aryan  family  but  is  related  more  nearly  to  the  western 
than  the  eastern  branch.  It  cannot  be  classed  in  the  Indo- 
Iranian  group  but  shows  perplexing  affinities  to  Latin,  Greek, 
Keltic,  Slavonic  and  Armenian4.  It  is  possible  that  it  influenced 
Chinese  Buddhist  literature5. 

Besides  the  "Nordarisch"  mentioned  above  which  was 
written  in  Brahmi,  three  other  Iranian  languages  have  left 
literary  remains  in  Central  Asia,  all  written  in  an  alphabet  of 
Aramaic  origin.  Two  of  them  apparently  represent  the  speech 
of  south-western  Persia  under  the  Sassanids,  and  of  north 
western  Persia  under  the  Arsacids.  The  texts  preserved  in  both 
are  Manichaean  but  the  third  Iranian  language,  or  Sogdian,  has 

1  Liiders,  "Die  Sakas  und  die  Nordarische  Sprache,"  Sitzungsber.  der  Ron. 
Preuss.  Akad.  1913.   Konow,  Getting.  Gel  Anz.  1912,  pp.  551  ff. 

2  See  Hoernle  in  J.E.A.8.  1910,  pp.  837  ff.  and  1283  ff. ;  1911,  pp.  202  ff.,  447  ff. 

3  An  old  Turkish  text  about  Maitreya  states  that  it  was  translated  from  an 
Indian  language  into  Tokhri  and  from  Tokhri  into  Turkish.   See  F.  K.  W.  Miiller, 
Sitzungsber.  der  Kon.  Preuss.  Akad.  1907,  p.  958.   But  it  is  not  clear  what  is  meant 
by  Tokhri. 

4  The  following  are  some  words  in  this  language: 

Kant,  a  hundred;  rake,  a  word;  por,  fire;  soye,  son  (Greek  vl6s);  suwan, 
swese,  rain  (Greek  tfei  yeros);  alyek,  another;  okso,  an  ox. 

6  The  numerous  papers  on  this  language  are  naturally  quickly  superseded.  But 
Sieg  and  Siegling  Tokharisch,  "Die  Sprache  der  Indoskythen"  (Sitzungsber.  der 
Berl.  Ak.  Wiss.  1908,  p.  815),  may  be  mentioned  and  Sylvain  Levi,  "Tokharien  B, 
Langue  de  Koutcha,"  J.A.  1913,  n.  p.  311. 


a  more  varied  literary  content  and  offers  Buddhist,  Manichsean 
and  Christian  texts,  apparently  in  that  chronological  order.  It 
was  originally  the  language  of  the  region  round  Samarkand  but 
acquired  an  international  character  for  it  was  used  by  merchants 
throughout  the  Tarim  basin  and  spread  even  to  China.  Some 
Christian  texts  in  Syriac  have  also  been  found. 

The  Orkhon  inscriptions  exhibit  an  old  Turkish  dialect 
written  in  the  characters  commonly  called  Runes  and  this  Runic 
alphabet  is  used  in  manuscripts  found  at  Tun-huang  and  Miran 
but  those  hitherto  published  are  not  Buddhist.  But  another 
Turkish  dialect  written  in  the  Uigur  alphabet,  which  is  derived 
from  the  Syriac,  was  (like  Sogdian)  extensively  used  for 
Buddhist,  Manichaean  and  Christian  literature.  The  name  Uigur 
is  perhaps  more  correctly  applied  to  the  alphabet  than  the 
language1  which  appears  to  have  been  the  literary  form  of  the 
various  Turkish  idioms  spoken  north  and  south  of  the  Tien-shan. 
The  use  of  this  dialect  for  Buddhist  literature  spread  consider 
ably  whqn  the  Uigurs  broke  the  power  of  Tibet  in  the  Tarim 
basin  about  860  and  founded  a  kingdom  themselves :  it  extended 
into  China  and  lasted  long,  for  Sutras  in  Uigur  were  printed  at 
Peking  in  1330  and  Uigur  manuscripts  copied  in  the  reign  of 
K'ang  Hsi  (1662-1723)  are  reported  from  a  monastery  near 
Suchow2.  I  am  informed  that  a  variety  of  this  alphabet  written 
in  vertical  columns  is  still  used  in  some  parts  of  Kansu  where 
a  Turkish  dialect  is  spoken.  Though  Turkish  was  used  by 
Buddhists  in  both  the  east  and  west  of  the  Tarim  basin,  it 
appears  to  have  been  introduced  into  Khotan  only  after  the 
Moslim  conquest.  Another  Semitic  script,  hitherto  unknown  and 
found  only  in  a  fragmentary  form,  is  believed  to  be  the  writing 
of  the  White  Huns  or  Hephthalites. 

As  the  Tibetans  were  the  predominant  power  in  the  Tarim 
basin  from  at  least  the  middle  of  the  eighth  until  the  middle  of 
the  ninth  century,  it  is  not  surprising  that  great  stores  of 
Tibetan  manuscripts  have  been  found  in  the  regions  of  Khotan, 
Miran  and  Tun-huang.  In  Turfan,  as  lying  more  to  the  north, 
traces  of  Tibetan  influence,  though  not  absent,  are  fewer.  The 

1  See  Radloff  Tisastvustik  (Bibl.  Buddh.  vol.  xu.),  p.  v.  This  manuscript  came 
from  Urumtsi.    A  translation  of  a  portion  of  the  Saddharma-pundarika  (Bibl. 
Buddh.  xiv.)  was  found  at  Turfan. 

2  Laufer  in  Toung  Pao,  1907,  p.  392;  Radloff,  Kuan-si-im  Pursar,  p.  vii. 

xu]  CENTRAL  ASIA  193 

documents  discovered  must  be  anterior  to  the  ninth  century 
and  comprise  numerous  official  and  business  papers  as  well  as 
Buddhist  translations1.  They  are  of  great  importance  for  the 
history  of  the  Tibetan  language  and  also  indicate  that  at  the 
period  when  they  were  written  Buddhism  at  most  shared  with 
the  Bon  religion  the  allegiance  of  the  Tibetans.  No  Manichaean 
or  Christian  translations  in  Tibetan  have  yet  been  discovered. 

Vast  numbers  of  Chinese  texts  both  religious  and  secular  are 
preserved  in  all  the  principal  centres  and  offer  many  points  of 
interest  among  which  two  may  be  noticed.  Firstly  the  posts  on 
the  old  military  frontier  near  Tun-huang  have  furnished  a  series 
of  dated  documents  ranging  from  98B.C.  to  153A.D.2  There  is 
therefore  no  difficulty  in  admitting  that  there  was  intercourse 
between  China  and  Central  Asia  at  this  period.  Secondly,  some 
documents  of  the  T'ang  dynasty  are  Manichsean,  with  an 
admixture  of  Buddhist  and  Taoist  ideas3. 

The  religious  monuments  of  Central  Asia  comprise  stupas, 
caves  and  covered  buildings  used  as  temples  or  viharas.  Bud 
dhist,  Manichaean  and  Christian  edifices  have  been  discovered 
but  apparently  no  shrines  of  the  Zoroastrian  religion,  though  it 
had  many  adherents  in  these  regions,  and  though  representa 
tions  of  Hindu  deities  have  been  found,  Hinduism  is  not  known 
to  have  existed  apart  from  Buddhism4.  Caves  decorated  for 
Buddhist  worship  are  found  not  only  in  the  Tarim  basin  but  at 
Tun-huang  on  the  frontier  of  China  proper,  near  Ta-t'ung-fu  in 
northern  Shensi,  and  in  the  defile  of  Lung-men  in  the  province 
of  Ho-nan.  The  general  scheme  and  style  of  these  caves  are 
similar,  but  while  in  the  last  two,  as  in  most  Indian  caves,  the 
figures  and  ornaments  are  true  sculpture,  in  the  caves  of  Tun- 
huang  and  the  Tarim  not  only  is  the  wall  prepared  for  frescoes, 
but  even  the  figures  are  executed  in  stucco.  This  form  of  decora 
tion  was  congenial  to  Central  Asia  for  the  images  which  embel 
lished  the  temple  walls  were  moulded  in  the  same  fashion. 
Temples  and  caves  were  sometimes  combined,  for  instance  at 
Bazaklik  where  many  edifices  were  erected  on  a  terrace  in  front 

1  See  especially  Stein's  Ancient  Khotan,  app.  B,  and  Francke  in  J.R.A.S.  1914, 
p.  37. 

2  Chavannes,  Les  documents  chinois  decouverts  par  Aurel  Stein,  1913. 

3  See  especially  Chavannes  and  Pelliot,  "Traite  Manicheen"  in  J.A.  1911  and 

4  Hsiian  Chuang  notes  its  existence  however  in  Kabul  and  Kapis'a. 


of  a  series  of  caves  excavated  in  a  mountain  corner.  Few  roofed 
buildings  are  well  preserved  but  it  seems  certain  that  some  were 
high  quadrilateral  structures,  crowned  by  a  dome  of  a  shape 
found  in  Persia,  and  that  others  had  barrel-shaped  roofs, 
apparently  resembling  the  chaityas  of  Ter  and  Chezarla1.  Le 
Coq  states  that  this  type  of  architecture  is  also  found  in  Persia2. 
The  commonest  type  of  temple  was  a  hall  having  at  its  further 
end  a  cella,  with  a  passage  behind  to  allow  of  circumambulation. 
Such  halls  were  frequently  enlarged  by  the  addition  of  side 
rooms  and  sometimes  a  shrine  was  enclosed  by  several  rectangular 

Many  stupas  have  been  found  either  by  themselves  or  in 
combination  with  other  buildings.  The  one  which  is  best  pre 
served  (or  at  any  rate  reproduced  in  greatest  detail)4  is  the 
Stupa  of  Rawak.  It  is  set  in  a  quadrangle  bounded  by  a  wall 
which  was  ornamented  on  both  its  inner  and  outer  face  by  a 
series  of  gigantic  statues  in  coloured  stucco.  The  dome  is  set 
upon  a  rectangular  base  disposed  in  three  stories  and  this 
arrangement  is  said  to  characterize  all  the  stupas  of  Turkestan 
as  well  as  those  of  the  Kabul  valley  and  adjacent  regions. 

This  architecture  appears  to  owe  nothing  to  China  but  to 
include  both  Indian  (especially  Gandharan)  and  Persian  ele 
ments.  Many  of  its  remarkable  features,  if  not  common  else 
where,  are  at  least  widely  scattered.  Thus  some  of  the  caves  at 
Ming-Oi  have  dome-like  roofs  ornamented  with  a  pattern  com 
posed  of  squares  within  squares,  set  at  an  angle  with  each  other. 
A  similar  ornamentation  is  reported  from  Pandrenthan  in 
Kashmir  and  from  Bamian5. 

The  antiquities  of  Central  Asia  include  frescoes  executed  on 
the  walls  of  caves  and  buildings,  and  paintings  on  silk  paper6. 
The  origin  and  affinities  of  this  art  are  still  the  subject  of 
investigation  and  any  discussion  of  them  would  lead  me  too 
far  from  my  immediate  subject.  But  a  few  statements  can  be 

See  for  these  Fergusson-Burgess,  History  of  Indian  Architecture,  i.  pp.  125-8. 

J.R.A.S.  1909,  p.  313. 

E.g.  Griinwedel,  Altbuddhistische  Kultstdtten,  fig.  624. 

Stein,  Ancient  Khotan,  plates  xiii-xvii  and  xl,  pp.  83  and  482  S. 

See  Griinwedel,  Buddh.  Kultstdtten,  pp.  129-130  and  plate.  Foucher,  "L'Art 
Greco-Bouddhique,"  p.  145,  J.R.A.S.  1886,  333  and  plate  i. 

6  See  Wachsberger's  "  Stil-kritische  Studien  zur  Kunst  Chinesisch-Turkestan's " 
in  Ostasiatische  Ztsjt.  1914  and  1915. 


made  with  some  confidence.  The  influence  of  Gandhara  is  plain 
in  architecture,  sculpture,  and  painting.  The  oldest  works  may 
be  described  as  simply  Gandharan  but  this  early  style  is  followed 
by  another  which  shows  a  development  both  in  technique  and 
in  mythology.  It  doubtless  represents  Indian  Buddhist  art  as 
modified  by  local  painters  and  sculptors.  Thus  in  the  Turf  an 
frescoes  the  drapery  and  composition  are  Indian  but  the  faces 
are  eastern  asiatic.  Sometimes  however  they  represent  a  race 
with  red  hair  and  blue  eyes. 

On  the  whole  the  paintings  testify  to  the  invasion  of  Far 
Eastern  art  by  the  ideas  and  designs  of  Indian  Buddhism  rather 
than  to  an  equal  combination  of  Indian  and  Chinese  influence 
but  in  some  forms  of  decoration,  particularly  that  employed  in 
the  Khan's  palace  at  Idiqutshahri1,  Chinese  style  is  predominant. 
It  may  be  too  that  the  early  pre-buddhist  styles  of  painting  in 
China  and  Central  Asia  were  similar.  In  the  seventh  century 
a  Khotan  artist  called  Wei-ch'ih  Po-chih-na  migrated  to  China, 
where  both  he  and  his  son  Wei-ch'ih  I-seng  acquired  considerable 

Persian  influence  also  is  manifest  in  many  paintings.  A 
striking  instance  may  be  seen  in  two  plates  published  by  Stein2 
apparently  representing  the  same  Boddhisattva.  In  one  he  is 
of  the  familiar  Indian  type:  the  other  seems  at  first  sight 
a  miniature  of  some  Persian  prince,  black-bearded  and  high- 
booted,  but  the  figure  has  four  arms.  As  might  be  expected,  it 
is  the  Manichaean  paintings  which  are  least  Indian  in  character. 
They  represent  a  "lost  late  antique  school3"  which  often  recalls 
Byzantine  art  and  was  perhaps  the  parent  of  mediaeval  Persian 
miniature  painting. 

The  paintings  of  Central  Asia  resemble  its  manuscripts.  It 
is  impossible  to  look  through  any  collection  of  them  without 
feeling  that  currents  of  art  and  civilization  flowing  from  neigh 
bouring  and  even  from  distant  lands  have  met  and  mingled  in 
this  basin.  As  the  reader  turns  over  the  albums  of  Stein, 
Griinwedel  or  Le  Coq  he  is  haunted  by  strange  reminiscences 
and  resemblances,  and  wonders  if  they  are  merely  coincidences 
or  whether  the  pedigrees  of  these  pictured  gods  and  men  really 

1  See  Griinwedel,  Buddh.  Kultstdtten,  pp.  332  S. 

2  Ancient  Khotan,  vol.  11.  plates  Ix  and  Ixi. 

3  Le  Coq  in  J.E.A.S.  1909,  pp.  299  ff.   See  the  whole  article. 


stretch  across  time  and  space  to  far  off  origins.  Here  are  coins 
and  seals  of  Hellenic  design,  nude  athletes  that  might  adorn 
a  Greek  vase,  figures  that  recall  Egypt,  Byzantium  or  the. 
Bayeux  tapestry,  with  others  that  might  pass  for  Christian 
ecclesiastics;  Chinese  sages,  Krishna  dancing  to  the  sound  of 
his  flute,  frescoes  that  might  be  copied  from  Ajanta,  winged 
youths  to  be  styled  cupids  or  cherubs  according  to  our 

Stein  mentions2  that  he  discovered  a  Buddhist  monastery 
in  the  terminal  marshes  of  the  Helmund  in  the  Persian  province 
of  Seistan,  containing  paintings  of  a  Hellenistic  type  which  show 
"for  the  first  time  in  situ  the  Iranian  link  of  the  chain  which 
connects  the  Grseco-Buddhist  art  of  extreme  north-west  India 
with  the  Buddhist  art  of  Central  Asia  and  the  Far  East." 

Central  Asian  art  is  somewhat  wanting  in  spontaneity. 
Except  when  painting  portraits  (which  are  many)  the  artists 
do  not  seem  to  go  to  nature  or  even  their  own  imagination  and 
visions.  They  seem  concerned  to  reproduce  some  religious  scene 
not  as  they  saw  it  but  as  it  was  represented  by  Indian  or  other 

Only  one  side  of  Central  Asian  history  can  be  written  with 
any  completeness,  namely  its  relations  with  China.  Of  these 
some  account  with  dates  can  be  given,  thanks  to  the  Chinese 
annals  which  incidentally  supply  valuable  information  about 
earlier  periods.  But  unfortunately  these  relations  were  often 
interrupted  and  also  the  political  record  does  not  always  furnish 
the  data  which  are  of  most  importance  for  the  history  of 
Buddhism.  Still  there  is  no  better  framework  available  for 
arranging  our  data.  But  even  were  our  information  much 
fuller,  we  should  probably  find  the  history  of  Central  Asia 
scrappy  and  disconnected.  Its  cities  were  united  by  no  bond  of 
common  blood  or  language,  nor  can  any  one  of  them  have  had 
a  continuous  development  in  institutions,  letters  or  art.  These 
were  imported  in  a  mature  form  and  more  or  less  assimilated 
in  a  precocious  Augustan  age,  only  to  be  overwhelmed  in  some 
catastrophe  which,  if  not  merely  destructive,  at  least  brought 
the  ideas  and  baggage  of  another  race. 

1  For  some  of  the  more  striking  drawings  referred  to  see  Griinwedel,  Buddh. 
Kultstdtten,  figs.  51,  53,  239,  242,  317,  337,  345-349. 

2  In  Qeog.  Journal,  May  1916,  p.  362. 


It  was  under  the  Emperor  Wu-ti  (140-87  B.C.)  of  the  Han 
dynasty  that  the  Chinese  first  penetrated  into  the  Tarim  basin. 
They  had  heard  that  the  Hsiung-nu,  of  whose  growing  power 
they  were  afraid,  had  driven  the  Yueh-chih  westwards  and  they 
therefore  despatched  an  envoy  named  Chang  Ch'ien  in  the  hope 
of  inducing  the  Yueh-chih  to  co-operate  with  them  against  the 
common  enemy.  Chang  Ch'ien  made  two  adventurous  expedi 
tions,  and  visited  the  Yueh-chih  in  their  new  home  somewhere 
on  the  Oxus.  His  mission  failed  to  attain  its  immediate  political 
object  but  indirectly  had  important  results,  for  it  revealed  to 
China  that  the  nations  on  the  Oxus  were  in  touch  with  India 
on  one  hand  and  with  the  more  mysterious  west  on  the  other. 
Henceforth  it  was  her  aim  to  keep  open  the  trade  route  leading 
westwards  from  the  extremity  of  the  modern  Kansu  province  to 
Kashgar,  Khotan  and  the  countries  with  which  those  cities 
communicated.  Fat  from  wishing  to  isolate  herself  or  exclude 
foreigners,  her  chief  desire  was  to  keep  the  road  to  the  west 
open,  and  although  there  were  times  when  the  flood  of  Buddhism 
which  swept  along  this  road  alarmed  the  more  conservative 
classes,  yet  for  many  centuries  everything  that  came  in  the  way 
of  merchandize,  art,  literature,  and  religion  was  eagerly  received. 
The  chief  hindrance  to  this  intercourse  was  the  hostility  of  the 
wild  tribes  who  pillaged  caravans  and  blocked  the  route,  and 
throughout  the  whole  stretch  of  recorded  history  the  Chinese 
used  the  same  method  to  weaken  them  and  keep  the  door  open, 
namely  to  create  or  utilize  a  quarrel  between  two  tribes.  The 
Empire  allied  itself  with  one  in  order  to  crush  the  second  and 
that  being  done,  proceeded  to  deal  with  its  former  ally. 

Dated  records  beginning  with  the  year  98  B.C.  testify  to  the 
presence  of  a  Chinese  garrison  near  the  modern  Tun-huang1. 
But  at  the  beginning  of  the  Christian  era  the  Empire  was 
convulsed  by  internal  rebellion  and  ceased  to  have  influence  or 
interest  in  Central  Asia.  With  the  restoration  of  order  things 
took  another  turn.  The  reign  of  the  Emperor  Ming-ti  is  the 
traditional  date  for  the  introduction  of  Buddhism  and  it  also 
witnessed  the  victorious  campaigns  of  the  famous  general  and 
adventurer  Pan  Ch'ao.  He  conquered  Khotan  and  Kashgar  and 
victoriously  repulsed  the  attacks  of  the  Kushans  or  Yueh-chih 
who  were  interested  in  these  regions  and  endeavoured  to  stop 
his  progress.  The  Chinese  annals  do  not  give  the  name  of  their 
1  Chavannes,  Documents  chinois  d&ouverts  par  Aurel  Stein,  1913. 


king  but  it  must  have  been  Kanishka  if  he  came  to  the  throne 
in  78.  I  confess  however  that  this  silence  makes  it  difficult  for 
me  to  accept  78-123  A.D.  as  the  period  of  Kanishka's  reign,  for 
he  must  have  been  a  monarch  of  some  celebrity  and  if  the 
Chinese  had  come  into  victorious  contact  with  him,  would  not 
their  historians  have  mentioned  it?  It  seems  to  me  more 
probable  that  he  reigned  before  or  after  Pan  Ch'ao's  career  hi 
Central  Asia  which  lasted  from  A.D.  73-102.  With  the  end  of 
that  career  Chinese  activity  ceased  for  some  time  and  perhaps 
the  Kushans  conquered  Kashgar  and  Khotan  early  in  the  second 
century.  Neither  the  degenerate  Han  dynasty  nor  the  stormy 
Three  Kingdoms  could  grapple  with  distant  political  problems 
and  during  the  fourth,  fifth  and  sixth  centuries  northern  China 
was  divided  among  Tartar  states,  short-lived  and  mutually 
hostile.  The  Empire  ceased  to  be  a  political  power  in  the  Tarim 
basin  but  intercourse  with  Central  Asia  and  in  particular  the 
influx  of  Buddhism  increased,  and  there  was  also  a  return  wave 
of  Chinese  influence  westwards.  Meanwhile  two  tribes,  the 
Hephthalites  (or  White  Huns)  and  the  Turks1,  successively 
became  masters  of  Central  Asia  and  founded  states  sometimes 
called  Empires — that  is  to  say  they  overran  vast  tracts  within 
which  they  took  tribute  without  establishing  any  definite 
constitution  or  frontiers. 

When  the  T'ang  dynasty  (618-907)  re-united  the  Empire, 
the  Chinese  Government  with  characteristic  tenacity  reverted 
to  its  old  policy  of  keeping  the  western  road  open  and  to  its  old 
methods.  The  Turks  were  then  divided  into  two  branches,  the 
northern  and  western,  at  war  with  one  another.  The  Chinese 
allied  themselves  with  the  latter,  defeated  the  northern  Turks 
and  occupied  Turf  an  (640).  Then  in  a  series  of  campaigns,  in 
which  they  were  supported  by  the  Uigurs,  they  conquered  their 
former  allies  the  western  Turks  and  proceeded  to  organize  the 
Tarim  basin  under  the  name  of  the  Four  Garrisons2.  This  was 
the  most  glorious  period  of  China's  foreign  policy  and  at  no 
other  time  had  she  so  great  a  position  as  a  western  power.  The 

1  These  of  course  are  not  the  Osmanlis  or  Turks  of  Constantinople.  The  Osmanlis 
are  the  latest  of  the  many  branches  of  the  Turks,  who  warred  and  ruled  in  Central 
Asia  with  varying  success  from  the  fifth  to  the  eighth  centuries. 

a  That  is  Kashgar,  Khotan,  Kucha  and  Tokmak  for  which  last  Karashahr  was 
subsequently  substituted.  The  territory  was  also  called  An  Hsi. 


list  of  hei;  possessions  included  Bokhara  in  the  west  and  starting 
from  Semirechinsk  and  Tashkent  in  the  north  extended  south 
wards  so  as  to  embrace  Afghanistan  with  the  frontier  districts 
of  India  and  Persia1.  It  is  true  that  the  Imperial  authority  in 
many  of  these  regions  was  merely  nominal:  when  the  Chinese 
conquered  a  tribe  which  claimed  sovereignty  over  them  they 
claimed  sovereignty  themselves.  But  for  the  history  of  civiliza 
tion,  for  the  migration  of  art  and  ideas,  even  this  nominal  claim 
is  important,  for  China  was  undoubtedly  in  touch  with  India, 
Bokhara  and"  Persia. 

But  no  sooner  did  these  great  vistas  open,  than  new  enemies 
appeared  to  bar  the  road.  The  Tibetans  descended  into  the 
Tarim  basin  and  after  defeating  the  Chinese  in  670  held  the 
Four  Garrisons  till  692,  when  the  fortunes  of  war  were  reversed. 
But  the  field  was  not  left  clear  for  China:  the  power  of  the 
northern  Turks  revived,  and  Mohammedanism,  then  a  new  force 
but  destined  to  ultimate  triumph  in  politics  and  religion  alike, 
appeared  in  the  west.  The  conquests  of  the  Mohammedan 
general  Qutayba  (705-715)  extended  to  Ferghana  and  he 
attacked  Kashgar.  In  the  long  reign  of  Hsiian  Tsung  China 
waged  a  double  warfare  against  the  Arabs  and  Tibetans.  For 
about  thirty  years  (719-751)  the  struggle  was  successful.  Even 
Tabaristan  is  said  to  have  acknowledged  China's  suzerainty. 
Her  troops  crossed  the  Hindu  Kush  and  reached  Gilgit.  But  in 
751  they  sustained  a  crushing  defeat  near  Tashkent.  The 
disaster  was  aggravated  by  the  internal  troubles  of  the  Empire 
and  it  was  long  before  Chinese  authority  recovered  from  the 
blow2.  The  Tibetans  reaped  the  advantage.  Except  in  Turf  an, 
they  were  the  dominant  power  of  the  Tarim  basin  for  a  century, 
they  took  tribute  from  China  and  when  it  was  refused  sacked 
the  capital,  Chang-an  (763).  It  would  appear  however  that  for 
a  time  Chinese  garrisons  held  out  in  Central  Asia  and  Chinese 
officials  exercised  some  authority,  though  they  obtained  no 
support  from  the  Empire3.  But  although  even  late  in  the  tenth 
century  Khotan  sent  embassies  to  the  Imperial  Court,  China 

1  See  for  lists  and  details  Chavannes,  Documents  sur  les  Tou-kiue  Occidentaux, 
pp.  67  ff.  and  270  ff. 

2  The  conquest  and  organization  of  the  present  Chinese  Turkestan  dates  only 
from  the  reign  of  Ch'ien  Lung. 

8  Thus  the  pilgrim  Wu-K'ung  mentions  Chinese  officials  in  the  Four  Garrisons. 


gradually  ceased  to  be  a  Central  Asian  power.  She  made  a 
treaty  with  the  Tibetans  (783)  and  an  alliance  with  the  Uigurs, 
who  now  came  to  the  front  and  occupied  Turf  an,  where  there 
was  a  flourishing  Uigur  kingdom  with  Manichaeism  as  the  state 
religion  from  about  750  to  843.  In  that  year  the  Kirghiz  sacked 
Turfan  and  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  Chinese  who  had 
hitherto  tolerated  Manichaeism  as  the  religion  of  their  allies, 
at  once  began  to  issue  restrictive  edicts  against  it.  But  except 
in  Turfan  it  does  not  appear  that  the  power  of  the  Uigurs  was 
weakened1.  In  860-817  they  broke  up  Tibetan  rule  in  the 
Tarim  basin  and  formed  a  new  kingdom  of  their  own  which 
apparently  included  Kashgar,  Urumtsi  and  Kucha  but  not 
Khotan.  The  prince  of  Kashgar  embraced  Islam  about  945, 
but  the  conversion  of  Khotan  and  Turfan  was  later.  With  this 
conversion  the  connection  of  the  Tarim  basin  with  the  history 
of  Buddhism  naturally  ceases,  for  it  does  not  appear  that  the 
triumphal  progress  of  Lamaism  under  Khubilai  Khan  affected 
these  regions. 


The  Tarim  basin,  though  sometimes  united  under  foreign 
rule,  had  no  indigenous  national  unity.  Cities,  or  groups  of 
towns,  divided  by  deserts  lived  their  own  civic  life  and  enjoyed 
considerable  independence  under  native  sovereigns,  although 
the  Chinese,  Turks  or  Tibetans  quartered  troops  in  them  and 
appointed  residents  to  supervise  the  collection  of  tribute.  The 
chief  of  these  cities  or  oases  were  Kashgar  in  the  west :  Kucha, 
Karashahr,  Turfan  (Idiqutshahri,  Chotscho)  and  Hami  lying 
successively  to  the  north-east :  Yarkand,  Khotan  and  Miran  to 
the  south-east2.  It  may  be  well  to  review  briefly  the  special 
history  of  some  of  them. 

The  relics  found  near  Kashgar,  the  most  western  of  these 
cities,  are  comparatively  few,  probably  because  its  position 
exposed  it  to  the  destructive  influence  of  Islam  at  an  early  date. 
Chinese  writers  reproduce  the  name  as  Ch'ia-sha,  Chieh-ch'a, 
etc.,  but  also  call  the  region  Su-le,  Shu-le,  or  Sha-le3.  It  is 

1  See  for  this  part  of  their  history,  Grenard's  article  in  J.A.  1900,  I.  pp.  1-79. 

2  Pelliot  also  attributes  importance  to  a  Sogdian  Colony  to  the  south  of  Lob 
Nor,  which  may  have  had  much  to  do  with  the  transmission  of  Buddhism  and 
Nestorianism  to  China.  See  J.A.  Jan.  1916,  pp.  111-123. 

8  These  words  have  been  connected  with  the  tribe  called  Sacae,  Sakas,  or  Sb'k. 


mentioned  first  in  the  Han  annals.  After  the  missions  of  Chang- 
Ch'ien  trade  with  Bactria  and  Sogdiana  grew  rapidly  and 
Kashgar  which  was  a  convenient  emporium  became  a  Chinese 
protected  state  in  the  first  century  B.C.  But  when  the  hold  of 
China  relaxed  about  the  time  of  the  Christian  era  it  was  subdued 
by  the  neighbouring  kingdom  of  Khotan.  The  conquests  of 
Pan-Ch'ao  restored  Chinese  supremacy  but  early  in  the  second 
century  the  Yueh-chih  interfered  in  the  politics  of  Kashgar  and 
placed  on  the  throne  a  prince  who  was  their  tool.  The  intro 
duction  of  Buddhism  is  ascribed  to  this  epoch1.  If  Kanishka 
was  then  reigning  the  statement  that  he  conquered  Kashgar 
and  Khotan  is  probably  correct.  It  is  supported  by  Hsiian 
Chuang's  story  of  the  hostages  and  by  his  assertion  that 
Kanishka's  rule  extended  to  the  east  of  the  Ts'ung-ling  moun 
tains  :  also  by  the  discovery  of  Kanishka's  coins  in  the  Khotan 
district.  Little  is  heard  of  Kashgar  until  Fa-Hsien  visited  it  in 
4002.  He  speaks  of  the  quinquennial  religious  conferences  held 
by  the  king,  at  one  of  which  he  was  present,  of  relics  of  the 
Buddha  and  of  a  monastery  containing  a  thousand  monks  all 
students  of  the  Hinayana.  About  460  the  king  sent  as  a  present 
to  the  Chinese  Court  an  incombustible  robe  once  worn  by  the 
Buddha,  Shortly  afterwards  Kashgar  was  incorporated  in  the 
dominions  of  the  Hephthalites,  and  when  these  succumbed  to 
the  western  Turks  about  465,  it  merely  changed  masters. 

Hsiian  Chuang  has  left  an  interesting  account  of  Kashgar 
as  he  found  it  on  his  return  journey3.  The  inhabitants  were 
sincere  Buddhists  and  there  were  more  than  a  thousand  monks 
of  the  Sarvastivadin  school.  But  their  knowledge  was  not  in 
proportion  to  their  zeal  for  they  read  the  scriptures  diligently 
without  understanding  them.  They  used  an  Indian  alphabet 
into  which  they  had  introduced  alterations. 

1  See  Klaproth,  Tabl.   Historique,  p.    166,  apparently  quoting  from  Chinese 
sources.  Specht,  J.A.  1897,  n.  p.  187.   Franke,  Be.itr.~zur  Kenntniss  Zentral-Asiens, 
p.  83.  The  passage  quoted  by  Specht  from  the  Later  Han  Annals  clearly  states  that 
the  Yiieh-chih  made  a  rnan  of  their  own  choosing  prince  of  Kashgar,  although,  as 
Franke  points  out,  it  makes  no  reference  to  Kanishka  or  the  story  of  the  hostages 
related  by  Hsiian  Chuang. 

2  Fa-Hsien'sChieh-ch'a  has  been  interpreted  as  Skardo,  butChavannes  seems  to 
have  proved  that  it  is  Kashgar. 

3  About  643  A.D.   He  mentions  that  the  inhabitants  tattooed  their  bodies,  flat 
tened  their  children's  heads  and  had  green  eyes.    Also  that  they  spoke  a  peculiar 


According  to  Hsiian  Chuang's  religious  conspectus  of  these 
regions,  Kashgar,  Osh  and  Kucha  belonged  to  the  Small 
Vehicle,  Yarkand  and  Khotan  mainly  to  the  Great.  The  Small 
Vehicle  also  flourished  at  Balkh  and  at  Bamian1.  In  Kapisa 
the  Great  Vehicle  was  predominant  but  there  were  also  many 
Hindu  sects :  in  the  Kabul  valley  too  Hinduism  and  Buddhism 
seem  to  have  been  mixed :  in  Persia2  there  were  several  hundred 
Sarvastivadin  monks.  In  Tokhara  (roughly  equivalent  to 
Badakshan)  there  was  some  Buddhism  but  apparently  it  did 
not  flourish  further  north  in  the  regions  of  Tashkent  and 
Samarkand.  In  the  latter  town  there  were  two  disused  mon 
asteries  but  when  Hsiian  Chuang's  companions  entered  them 
they  were  mobbed  by  the  populace.  He  says  that  these  rioters 
were  fire  worshippers  and  that  the  Turks  whom  he  visited 
somewhere  near  Aulieata  were  of  the  same  religion.  This  last 
statement  is  perhaps  inaccurate  but  the  T'ang  annals  expressly 
state  that  the  population  of  Kashgar  and  Khotan  was  in  part 
Zoroastrian3.  No  mention  of  Nestorianism  in  Kashgar  at  this 
date  has  yet  been  discovered,  although  in  the  thirteenth  century 
it  was  a  Nestorian  see.  But  since  Nestorianism  had  penetrated 
even  to  China  in  the  seventh  century,  it  probably  also  existed 
in  Samarkand  and  Kashgar. 

The  pilgrim  Wu-K'ung  spent  five  months  in  Kashgar  about 
786,  but  there  appear  to  be  no  later  data  of  interest  for  the  study 
of  Buddhism. 

The  town  of  Kucha4  lies  between  Kashgar  and  Turfan, 
somewhat  to  the  west  of  Karashahr.  In  the  second  century  B.C. 
it  was  already  a  flourishing  city.  Numerous  dated  documents 
show  that  about  630  A.D.  the  language  of  ordinary  life  was  the 
interesting  idiom  sometimes  called  Tokharian  B,  and,  since  the 
Chinese  annals  record  no  alien  invasion,  we  may  conclude  that 
Kucha  existed  as  an  Aryan  colony  peopled  by  the  speakers  of 

1  At  Bamian  the  monks  belonged  to  the  Lokottaravadin  School. 

2  Beal,  Records,  n.  p.  278.  The  pilgrim  is  speaking  from  hearsay  and  it  is  not 
clear  to  what  part  of  Persia  he  refers. 

3  See  Chavannes,  Documents  sur  les  Tou-kiue  Occidentaux,  pp.  121,  125.  The 
inhabitants  of  K'ang  (Samarkand  or  Sogdiana)  are  said  to  honour  both  religions. 
76.  p.  135. 

*  Known  to  the  Chinese  by  several  slightly  different  names  such  as  Ku-chih, 
Kiu-tse  which  are  all  attempts  to  represent  the  same  sound.  For  Kucha  see  S.  LC"  vi's 
most  interesting  article  "Le  'Tokharien  B'  langue  de  Koutcha"  in  J.A.  1913,  11. 
pp.  311  ff. 

xu]  CENTRAL  ASIA  203 

this  language  some  centuries  before  the  Christian  era.  It  is 
mentioned  in  the  Han  annals  and  when  brought  into  contact 
with  China  in  the  reign  of  Wu-ti  (140-87  B.C.)  it  became  a  place 
of  considerable  importance,  as  it  lay  at  the  junction1  of  the 
western  trade  routes  leading  to  Kashgar  and  Aulieata  respec 
tively.  Kucha  absorbed  some  Chinese  civilization  but  its 
doubtful  loyalty  to  the  Imperial  throne  often  involved  it  in 
trouble.  It  is  not  until  the  Western  Tsin  dynasty  that  we  find 
it  described  as  a  seat  of  Buddhism.  The  Tsin  annals  say  that  it 
was  enclosed  by  a  triple  wall  and  contained  a  thousand  stupas 
and  Buddhist  temples  as  well  as  a  magnificent  palace  for  the 
king2.  This  implies  that  Buddhism  had  been  established  for  some 
time  but  no  evidence  has  been  found  to  date  its  introduction. 

In  383  Fu-chien,  Emperor  of  the  Tsin  dynasty,  sent  his 
general  Lu-Kuang  to  subdue  Kucha3.  The  expedition  was 
successful  and  among  the  captives  taken  was  the  celebrated 
Kumarajiva.  Lii-Kuang  was  so  pleased  with  the  magnificent 
and  comfortable  life  of  Kucha  that  he  thought  of  settling  there 
but  Kumarajiva  prophesied  that  he  was  destined  to  higher 
things.  So  they  left  to  try  their  fortune  in  China.  Lii-Kuang 
rose  to  be  ruler  of  the  state  known  as  Southern  Liang  and  his 
captive  and  adviser  became  one  of  the  greatest  names  in  Chinese 

Kumarajiva  is  a  noticeable  figure  and  his  career  illustrates 
several  points  of  importance.  First,  his  father  came  from 
India  and  he  himself  went  as  a  youth  to  study  in  Kipin  (Kash 
mir)  and  then  returned  to  Kucha.  Living  in  this  remote  corner 
of  Central  Asia  he  was  recognized  as  an  encyclopaedia  of  Indian 
learning  including  a  knowledge  of  the  Vedas  and  "heretical 
s*astras."  Secondly  after  his  return  to  Kucha  he  was  converted 
to  Mahay anism.  Thirdly  he  went  from  Kucha  to  China  where 
he  had  a  distinguished  career  as  a  translator.  Thus  we  see  how 

1  J.A.  1913,  ii.  p.  326. 

2  See  Chavannes  in  Stein's  Ancient  Khotan,  p.  544.  The  Western  Tsin  reigned 

8  The  circumstances  which  provoked  the  expedition  are  not  very  clear.  It  was 
escorted  by  the  king  of  Turfan  and  other  small  potentates  who  were  the  vassals  of 
the  Tsin  and  also  on  bad  terms  with  Kucha.  They  probably  asked  Fu-chien  for 
assistance  in  subduing  their  rival  which  he  was  delighted  to  give.  Some  authorities 
(e.g.  Nanjio  Cat.  p.  406)  give  Karashahr  as  the  name  of  Kumarajiva's  town,  but 
this  seema  to  be  a  mistake.  ,4 


China  was  brought  into  intellectual  touch  with  India  and  how 
the  Mahayana  was  gaining  in  Central  Asia  territory  previously 
occupied  by  the  Hinayana.  The  monk  Dharmagupta  who  passed 
through  Kucha  about  584  says  that  the  king  favoured  Mahayan- 
ism1.  That  Kucha  should  have  been  the  home  of  distinguished 
translators  is  not  strange  for  a  statement2  has  been  preserved 
to  the  effect  that  Sanskrit  texts  were  used  in  the  cities  lying  to 
the  west  of  it,  but  that  in  Kucha  itself  Indian  languages  were 
not  understood  and  translations  were  made,  although  such 
Sanskrit  words  as  were  easily  intelligible  were  retained. 

In  the  time  of  the  Wei,  Kucha  again  got  into  trouble  with 
China  and  was  brought  to  order  by  another  punitive  expedition 
in  448.  After  this  lesson  a  long  series  of  tribute-bearing  missions 
is  recorded,  sent  first  to  the  court  of  Wei,  and  afterwards  to  the 
Liang,  Chou  and  Sui.  The  notices  respecting  the  country  are  to 
a  large  extent  repetitions.  They  praise  its  climate,  fertility  and 
mineral  wealth :  the  magnificence  of  the  royal  palace,  the  number 
and  splendour  of  the  religious  establishments.  Peacocks  were 
as  common  as  fowls  and  the  Chinese  annalists  evidently  had  a 
general  impression  of  a  brilliant,  pleasure-loving  and  not  very 
moral  city.  It  was  specially  famous  for  its  music :  the  songs  and 
dances  of  Kucha,  performed  by  native  artists,  were  long  in 
favour  at  the  Imperial  Court,  and  a  list  of  twenty  airs  has  been 

When  the  T'ang  dynasty  came  to  the  throne  Kucha  sent  an 
embassy  to  do  homage  but  again  supported  Karashahr  in 
rebellion  and  again  brought  on  herself  a  punitive  expedition 
(648).  But  the  town  was  peaceful  and  prosperous  when  visited 
by  Hsiian  Chuang  about  630. 

His  description  agrees  in  substance  with  other  notices,  but 
he  praises  the  honesty  of  the  people.  He  mentions  that  the 
king  was  a  native  and  that  a  much  modified  Indian  alphabet 
was  in  use.  As  a  churchman,  he  naturally  dwells  with  pleasure 
on  the  many  monasteries  and  great  images,  the  quinquennial 

1  S.  L^vi,  J.A.  1913,  n.  p.  348,  quoting  Hsu  Kao  Seng  Chuan. 

2  Quoted  by  S.  Levi  from  the  Sung  Kao  Seng  Chuan.   See  J.A.  1913,  n.  p.  344 
and  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  562. 

8  As  a  proof  of  foreign  influence  in  Chinese  culture,  it  is  interesting  to  note  that 
there  were  seven  orchestras  for  the  imperial  banquets,  including  those  of  Kucha, 
Bokhara  and  India  and  a  mixed  one  in  which  were  musicians  from  Samarkand, 
Kashgar,  Camboja  and  Japan. 


assemblies  and  religious  processions.  There  were  more  than 
100  monasteries  with  upwards  of  5000  brethren  who  all  followed 
the  Sarvastivada  and  the  "gradual  teaching,"  which  probably 
means  the  Hinayana  as  opposed  to  the  sudden  illumination 
caused  by  Mahayanist  revelation.  The  pilgrim  differed  from  his 
hosts  on  the  matter  of  diet  and  would  not  join  them  in  eating 
meat.  But  he  admits  that  the  monks  were  strict  according  to 
their  lights  and  that  the  monasteries  were  centres  of  learning. 

In  658  Kucha  was  made  the  seat  of  government  for  the 
territory  known  as  the  Four  Garrisons.  During  the  next  century 
it  sent  several  missions  to  the  Chinese  and  about  788  was  visited 
by  Wu-K'ung,  who  indicates  that  music  and  Buddhism  were 
still  flourishing.  He  mentions  an  Abbot  who  spoke  with  equal 
fluency  the  language  of  the  country,  Chinese  and  Sanskrit. 
Nothing  is  known  about  Kucha  from  this  date  until  the  eleventh 
century  when  we  again  hear  of  missions  to  the  Chinese  Court. 
The  annals  mention  them  under  the  heading  of  Uigurs,  but 
Buddhism  seems  not  to  have  been  extinct  for  even  in  1096  the 
Envoy  presented  to  the  Emperor  a  jade  Buddha.  According  to 
Hsiian  Chuang's  account  the  Buddhism  of  Karashahr  (Yenki) 
was  the  same  as  that  of  Kucha  and  its  monasteries  enjoyed  the 
same  reputation  for  strictness  and  learning. 

Turfan  is  an  oasis  containing  the  ruins  of  several  cities  and 
possibly  different  sites  were  used  as  the  capital  at  different 
periods.  But  the  whole  area  is  so  small  that  such  differences 
can  be  of  little  importance.  The  name  Turfan  appears  to  be 
modern.  The  Ming  Annals1  state  that  this  city  lies  in  the 
land  of  ancient  Ch'e-shih  (or  Kii-shih)  called  Kao  Ch'ang  in  the 
time  of  the  Sui.  This  name  was  abolished  by  the  T'ang  but 
restored  by  the  Sung. 

The  principal  city  now  generally  known  as  Chotscho  seems 
to  be  identical  with  Kao  Ch'ang2  and  Idiqutshahri  and  is  called 
by  Mohammedans  Apsus  or  Ephesus,  a  curious  designation 
connected  with  an  ancient  sacred  site  renamed  the  Cave  of  the 
Seven  Sleepers.  Extensive  literary  remains  have  been  found  in 
the  oasis;  they  include  works  in  Sanskrit,  Chinese,  and  various 
Iranian  and  Turkish  idioms  but  also  in  two  dialects  of  so-called 

1  Quoted  by  Bretschneider,  Mediaeval  Researches,  n.  189. 

2  Pelliot,  J.A.  1912,  I.  p.  579,  suggests  that  Chotscho  or  Qoco  is  the  Turkish 
equivalent  of  Kao  Ch'ang  ift  T'ang  pronunciation,  the  nasal  being  omitted. 


Tokharian.  Blue-eyed,  red-haired  and  red-bearded  people  are 
frequently  portrayed  on  the  walls  of  Turfan. 

But  the  early  history  of  this  people  and  of  their  civilization 
is  chiefly  a  matter  of  theory.  In  the  Han  period1  there  was  a 
kingdom  called  Kii-shih  or  Kiii-shih,  with  two  capitals.  It  was 
destroyed  in  60  B.C.  by  the  Chinese  general  Cheng-Chi  and  eight 
small  principalities  were  formed  in  its  place.  In  the  fourth  and 
fifth  centuries  A.D.  Turfan  had  some  connection  with  two 
ephemeral  states  which  arose  in  Kansu  under  the  names  of  Hou 
Liang  and  Pei  Liang.  The  former  was  founded  by  Lii-Kuang, 
the  general  who,  as  related  above,  took  Kucha.  He  fell  foul  of 
a  tribe  in  his  territory  called  Chu-ch'ii,  described  as  belonging 
to  the  Hsiung-nu.  Under  their  chieftain  Meng-hsun,  who 
devoted  his  later  years  to  literature  and  Buddhism,  this  tribe 
took  a  good  deal  of  territory  from  the  Hou  Liang,  in  Turkestan 
as  well  as  in  Kansu,  and  called  their  state  Pei  Liang.  It  was 
conquered  by  the  Wei  dynasty  in  439  and  two  members  of  the 
late  reigning  house  determined  to  try  their  fortune  in  Turfan 
and  ruled  there  successively  for  about  twenty  years.  An  Chou, 
the  second  of  these  princes,  died  in  480  and  his  fame  survives 
because  nine  years  after  his  death  a  temple  to  Maitreya  was 
dedicated  in  his  honour  with  a  long  inscription  in  Chinese. 

Another  line  of  Chinese  rulers,  bearing  the  family  name  of 
Ch'iu,  established  themselves  at  Kao-ch'ang  in  507  and  under 
the  Sui  dynasty  one  of  them  married  a  Chinese  princess.  Turfan 
paid  due  homage  to  the  T'ang  dynasty  on  its  accession  but  later 
it  was  found  that  tributary  missions  coming  from  the  west  to 
the  Chinese  court  were  stopped  there  and  the  close  relations  of 
its  king  with  the  western  Turks  inspired  alarm.  Accordingly  it 
was  destroyed  by  the  imperial  forces  in  640.  This  is  confirmed 
by  the  record  of  Hsiian  Chuang.  In  his  biography  there  is  a 
description  of  his  reception  by  the  king  of  Kao-ch'ang  on  his 
outward  journey.  But  in  the  account  of  his  travels  written  after 
his  return  he  speaks  of  the  city  as  no  longer  existent. 

Nevertheless  the  political  and  intellectual  life  of  the  oasis 
was  not  annihilated.  It  was  conquered  by  the  Uigurs  at  an 
uncertain  date,  but  they  were  established  there  in  the  eighth 
and  ninth  centuries  and  about  750  their  Khan  adopted  Manichae- 
ism  as  the  state  religion.  The  many  manuscripts  in  Sogdian  and 

1  Chavannes,  Tou-kiue  Occidentaux,  p.  101. 

xu]  CENTRAL  ASIA  207 

other  Persian  dialects  found  at  Turfan  show  that  it  had  an  old 
and  close  connection  with  the  west.  It  is  even  possible  that 
Mani  may  have  preached  there  himself  but  it  does  not  appear 
that  his  teaching  became  influential  until  about  700  A.D.  The 
presence  of  Nestorianism  is  also  attested.  Tibetan  influence  too 
must  have  affected  Turfan  in  the  eighth  and  ninth  centuries  for 
many  Tibetan  documents  have  been  found  there  although  it 
seems  to  have  been  outside  the  political  sphere  of  Tibet.  About 
843  this  Uigur  Kingdom  was  destroyed  by  the  Kirghiz. 

Perhaps  the  massacres  of  Buddhist  priests,  clearly  indicated 
by  vaults  filled  with  skeletons  still  wearing  fragments  of  the 
monastic  robe,  occurred  in  this  period.  But  Buddhism  was  not 
extinguished  and  lingered  here  longer  than  in  other  parts  of  the 
Tarim  basin.  Even  in  1420  the  people  of  Turfan  were  Buddhists 
and  the  Ming  Annals  say  that  at  Huo-chou  (or  Kara-Khojo) 
there  were  more  Buddhist  temples  than  dwelling  houses. 

Let  us  now  turn  to  Khotan1.  This  was  the  ancient  as  well  as 
the  modern  name  of  the  principal  city  in  the  southern  part  of 
the  Tarim  basin  but  was  modified  in  Chinese  to  Yii-t'ien,  in 
Sanskrit  to  Kustana2.  The  Tibetan  equivalent  is  Li-yul,  the  land 
of  Li,  but  no  explanation  of  this  designation  is  forthcoming. 

Traditions  respecting  the  origin  of  Khotan  are  preserved  in 
the  travels  of  Hsiian  Chuang  and  also  in  the  Tibetan  scriptures, 
some  of  which  are  expressly  said  to  be  translations  from  the 
language  of  Li.  These  traditions  are  popular  legends  but  they 
agree  in  essentials  and  appear  to  contain  a  kernel  of  important 
truth  namely  that  Khotan  was  founded  by  two  streams  of 
colonization  coming  from  China  and  from  India3,  the  latter  being 
somehow  connected  with  Asoka.  It  is  remarkable  that  the 
introduction  of  Buddhism  is  attributed  not  to  these  original 
colonists  but  to  a  later  missionary  who,  according  to  Hsiian 
Chuang,  came  from  Kashmir4. 

\  For  the  history  of  Khotan  see  Remusat,  Ville  de  Khotan,  1820,  and  Stein's 
great  work  Ancient  Khotan,  especially  chapter  vn.  For  the  Tibetan  traditions  see 
Rockhill,  Life  of  the  Buddha,  pp.  230  ff. 

a  Ku-stana  seems  to  have  been  a  learned  perversion  of  the  name,  to  make  it 
mean  breast  of  the  earth. 

3  The  combination  is  illustrated  by  the  Sino-Kharoshthi  coins  with  a  legend  in 
Chinese  on  the  obverse  and  in  Prakrit  on  the  reverse.   See  Stein,  Ancient  Khotant 
p.  204.   But  the  coins  are  later  than  73  A.D. 

4  The  Tibetan  text  gives  the  date  of  conversion  as  the  reign  of  King  Vijayasam- 
bhava,  170  years  after  the  foundation  of  Khotan. 


This  traditional  connection  with  India  is  confirmed  by  the 
discovery  of  numerous  documents  written  in  Kharoshthi 
characters  and  a  Prakrit  dialect.  Their  contents  indicate  that 
this  Prakrit  was  the  language  of  common  life  and  they  were 
found  in  one  heap  with  Chinese  documents  dated  269  A.D.  The 
presence  of  this  alphabet  and  language  is  not  adequately  ex 
plained  by  the  activity  of  Buddhist  missionaries  for  in  Khotan, 
as  in  other  parts  of  Asia,  the  concomitants  of  Buddhism  are 
Sanskrit  and  the  Brahmi  alphabet. 

There  was  also  Iranian  influence  in  Khotan.  It  shows  itself 
in  art  and  has  left  indubitable  traces  in  the  language  called  by 
some  Nordarisch,  but  when  the  speakers  of  that  language  reached 
the  oasis  or  what  part  they  played  there,  we  do  not  yet  know. 

As  a  consequence  of  Chang  Ch'ien's  mission  mentioned  above, 
Khotan  sent  an  Embassy  to  the  Chinese  Court  in  the  reign  of 
Wu-ti  (140-87  B.C.)  and  the  T'ang  Annals  state  that  its  kings 
handed  down  the  insignia  of  Imperial  investiture  from  that  time 
onwards.  There  seems  however  to  have  been  a  dynastic  revolu 
tion  about  60  A.D.  and  it  is  possible  that  the  Vijaya  line  of 
kings,  mentioned  in  various  Tibetan  works,  then  began  to  reign1. 
Khotan  became  a  powerful  state  but  submitted  to  the  conquering 
arms  of  Pan-Ch'ao  and  perhaps  was  subsequently  subdued  by 
Kanishka.  As  the  later  Han  dynasty  declined,  it  again  became 
strong  but  continued  to  send  embassies  to  the  Imperial  Court. 
There  is  nothing  more  to  mention  until  the  visit  of  Fa-Hsien  in 
400.  He  describes  "the  pleasant  and  prosperous  kingdom "  with 
evident  gusto.  There  were  some  tens  of  thousands  of  monks 
mostly  foUowers  of  the  Mahayana  and  in  the  country,  where  the 
homes  of  the  people  were  scattered  "like  stars  "  about  the  oases, 
each  house  had  a  small  stupa  before  the  door.  He  stopped  in 
a  well  ordered  convent  with  3000  monks  and  mentions  a 
magnificent  establishment  called  The  King's  New  Monastery. 
He  also  describes  a  great  car  festival  which  shows  the  Indian 
colour  of  Khotanese  religion.  Perhaps  Fa-Hsien  and  Hsiian 
Chuang  unduly  emphasize  ecclesiastical  features,  but  they  also 
did  not  hesitate  to  say  when  they  thought  things  unsatisfactory 
and  their  praise  shows  that  Buddhism  was  flourishing. 

In  the  fifth  and  sixth  centuries  Khotan  passed  through 
troublous  times  and  was  attacked  by  the  Tanguts,  Juan-Juan 

1  See  Sten  Konow  in  J.R.A.S.  1914,  p.  345. 


and  White  Huns.  Throughout  this  stormy  period  missions  were 
sent  at  intervals  to  China  to  beg  for  help.  The  pilgrim  Sung  Ytin1 
traversed  the  oasis  in  519.  His  account  of  the  numerous  banners 
bearing  Chinese  inscriptions  hung  up  in  the  temple  of  Han-mo 
proves  that  though  the  political  influence  of  China  was  weak, 
she  was  still  in  touch  with  the  Tarim  basin. 

When  the  T'ang  effectively  asserted  their  suzerainty  in 
Central  Asia,  Khotan  was  included  in  the  Four  Garrisons.  The 
T'ang  Annals  while  repeating  much  which  is  found  in  earlier 
accounts,  add  some  points  of  interest,  for  they  say  that  the 
Khotanese  revere  the  God  of  Heaven  (Hsien  shen)  and  also  the 
Law  of  Buddha2.  This  undoubtedly  means  that  there  were 
Zoroastrians  as  well  as  Buddhists,  which  is  not  mentioned  in 
earlier  periods.  The  annals  also  mention  that  the  king's  house 
was  decorated  with  pictures  and  that  his  family  name  was  Wei 
Ch'ih.  This  may  possibly  be  a  Chinese  rendering  of  Vijaya,  the 
Sanskrit  name  or  title  which  according  to  Tibetan  sources  was 
borne  by  all  the  sovereigns  of  Khotan. 

Hsiian  Chuang  broke  his  return  journey  at  Khotan  in  644. 
He  mentions  the  fondness  of  the  people  for  music  and  says 
that  their  language  differed  from  that  of  other  countries.  The 
Mahayana  was  the  prevalent  sect  but  the  pilgrim  stopped  in  a 
monastery  of  the  Sarvastivadins3.  He  describes  several  sites  in 
the  neighbourhood,  particularly  the  Gosringa  or  Cow-horn 
mountain4,  supposed  to  have  been  visited  by  the  Buddha. 
Though  he  does  not  mention  Zoroastrians,  he  notices  that  the 
people  of  P'i-mo  near  Khotan  were  not  Buddhists. 

About  674  the  king  of  Khotan  did  personal  homage  at  the 
Chinese  Court.  The  Emperor  constituted  his  territory  into  a 
government  called  P'i-sha  after  the  deity  P'i-sha-men  or 
Vaisravana  and  made  him  responsible  for  its  administration. 
Another  king  did  homage  between  742  and  755  and  received  an 
imperial  princess  as  his  consort.  Chinese  political  influence  was 
effective  until  the  last  decade  of  the  eighth  century  but  after 
790  the  conquests  of  the  Tibetans  put  an  end  to  it  and  there  is 

1  See  Stein,  Ancient  Khotan,  pp.  170,  456. 

2  Chavannes,  Tou-kiue,  p.  125,  cf.  pp.  121  and  170.    For  Hsicn  shen  see  Giles's 
Chinese  Diet.  No.  4477. 

3  Beal,  Life,  p.  205. 

4  Identified  by  Stein  with  Kohmari  Hill  which  is  still  revered  by  Mohammedans 
as  a  sacred  spot. 


no  mention  of  Khotan  in  the  Chinese  Annals  for  about  150  years. 
Numerous  Tibetan  manuscripts  and  inscriptions  found  at  Endere 
testify  to  these  conquests.  The  rule  of  the  Uigurs  who  replaced 
Tibet  as  the  dominant  power  in  Turf  an  and  the  northern  Tarim 
basin  does  not  appear  to  have  extended  to  Khotan. 

It  is  not  till  938  that  we  hear  of  renewed  diplomatic  relations 
with  China.  The  Imperial  Court  received  an  embassy  from 
Khotan  and  deemed  it  of  sufficient  importance  to  despatch  a 
special  mission  in  return.  Eight  other  embassies  were  sent  to 
China  in  the  tenth  century  and  at  least  three  of  them  were 
accompanied  by  Buddhist  priests.  Their  object  was  probably  to 
solicit  help  against  the  attacks  of  Mohammedans.  No  details 
are  known  as  to  the  Mohammedan  conquest  but  it  apparently 
took  place  between  970  and  1009  after  a  long  struggle. 

Another  cultural  centre  of  the  Tarim  basin  must  have  existed 
in  the  oases  near  Lob-nor  where  Miran  and  a  nameless  site  to 
the  north  of  the  lake  have  been  investigated  by  Stein.  They 
have  yielded  numerous  Tibetan  documents,  but  also  fine  remains 
of  Gandharan  art  and  Prakrit  documents  written  in  the  Kharo- 
shthi  character.  Probably  the  use  of  this  language  and  alphabet 
was  not  common  further  east,  for  though  a  Kharoshthi  fragment 
was  found  by  Stein  in  an  old  Chinese  frontier  post1  the  library 
of  Tun-huang  yielded  no  specimens  of  them.  That  library,  how 
ever,  dating  apparently  from  the  epoch  of  the  T'ang,  contained 
some  Sanskrit  Buddhist  literature  and  was  rich  in  Sogdian, 
Turkish,  and  Tibetan  manuscripts. 

Ample  as  are  the  materials  for  the  study  of  Buddhism  in 
Central  Asia  those  hitherto  published  throw  little  light  on  the 
time  and  manner  of  its  introduction.  At  present  much  is 
hypothetical  for  we  have  few  historical  data — such  as  the  career 
of  Kumarajiva  and  the  inscription  on  the  Temple  of  Maitreya 
at  Turfan — but  a  great  mass  of  literary  and  artistic  evidence 
from  which  various  deductions  can  be  drawn. 

It  is  clear  that  there  was  constant  intercourse  with  India  and 
the  Oxus  region.  The  use  of  Prakrit  and  of  various  Iranian 
idioms  points  to  actual  colonization  from  these  two  quarters  and 

1  Desert  Cathay,  n.  p.  114. 


it  is  probable  that  there  were  two  streams  of  Buddhism,  for  the 
Chinese  pilgrims  agree  that  Shan-shan  (near  Lob-nor),  Turfan, 
Kucha  and  Kashgar  were  Hinayanist,  whereas  Yarkand  and 
Khotan  were  Mahayanist.  Further,  much  of  the  architecture, 
sculpture  and  painting  is  simply  Gandharan  and  the  older 
specimens  can  hardly  be  separated  from  the  Gandharan  art  of 
India  by  any  considerable  interval.  This  art  was  in  part  coeval 
with  Kanishka,  and  if  his  reign  began  in  78  A. D.  or  later  the  first 
specimens  of  it  cannot  be  much  anterior  to  the  Christian  era.  The 
earliest  Chinese  notices  of  the  existence  of  Buddhism  in  Kashgar 
and  Kucha  date  from  400  (Fa-Hsien)  and  the  third  century 
(Annals  of  the  Tsin,  265-317)  respectively,  but  they  speak  of  it 
as  the  national  religion  and  munificently  endowed,  so  that  it 
may  well  have  been  established  for  some  centuries.  In  Turfan 
the  first  definite  record  is  the  dedication  of  a  temple  to  Maitreya 
in  469  but  probably  the  history  of  religion  there  was  much  the 
same  as  in  Kucha. 

It  is  only  in  Khotan  that  tradition,  if  not  history,  gives  a 
more  detailed  narrative.  This  is  found  in  the  works  of  the  Chinese 
pilgrims  Hsiian  Chuang  and  Sung  Yiin  and  also  in  four  Tibetan 
works  which  are  apparently  translated  from  the  language  of 
Khotan1.  As  the  story  is  substantially  the  same  in  all,  it  merits 
consideration  and  may  be  accepted  as  the  account  current  in 
the  literary  circles  of  Khotan  about  500  A.D.  It  relates  that  the 
Indians  who  were  part-founders  of  that  city  in  the  reign  of 
Asoka  were  not  Buddhists2  arid  the  Tibetan  version  places  the 
conversion  with  great  apparent  accuracy  170  years  after  the 
foundation  of  the  kingdom  and  404  after  the  death  of  the 
Buddha.  At  that  time  a  monk  named  Vairocana,  who  was  an 
incarnation  of  Manjusri,  came  to  Khotan,  according  to  Hsiian 
Chuang  from  Kashmir3.  He  is  said  to  have  introduced  a  new 
language  as  well  as  Mahayanism,  and  the  king,  Vijayasambhava, 
built  for  him  the  great  monastery  of  Tsarma  outside  the  capital, 
which  was  miraculously  supplied  with  relics.  We  cannot  be  sure 

1  See  Walters,  Yilan  Chwang,  n.  p.  296.  Seal,  Life.  p.  205.  Chavannes,  "Voyage 
de  Sung  Yun."  B.E.F.E.O.  1903,  395,  and  for  the  Tibetan  sources,  Rockhill,  Life 
of  the  Buddha,  chap.  vin.   One  of  the  four  Tibetan  works  is  expressly  stated  to  be 
translated  from  Khotanese. 

2  The  Tibetan  Chronicles  of  Li-Yul  say  that  they  worshipped  Vais"ravana  and 

3  A  monk  from  Kashmir  called  Vairocana  was  also  active  in  Tibet  about  750  A.D. 


that  the  Tibetan  dates  were  intended  to  have  the  meaning  they 
would  bear  for  our  chronology,  that  is  about  80  B.C.,  but  if  they 
had,  there  is  nothing  improbable  in  the  story,  for  other  traditions 
assert  that  Buddhism  was  preached  in  Kashmir  in  the  time  of 
Asoka.  On  the  other  hand,  there  was  a  dynastic  change  in 
Khotan  about  60  A.D.  and  the  monarch  who  then  came  to  the 
throne  may  have  been  Vijayasambhava. 

According  to  the  Tibetan  account  no  more  monasteries  were 
built  for  seven  reigns.  The  eighth  king  built  two,  one  on  the 
celebrated  Gosirsha  or  Gosringa  mountain.  In  the  eleventh  reign 
after  Vijayasambhava,  more  chaityas  and  viharas  were  built  in 
connection  with  the  introduction  of  the  silkworm  industry. 
Subsequently,  but  without  any  clear  indication  of  date,  the 
introduction  of  the  Mahasanghika  and  Sarvastivadin  schools  is 

The  Tibetan  annals  also  mention  several  persecutions  of 
Buddhism  in  Khotan  as  a  result  of  which  the  monks  fled  to 
Tibet  and  Bruzha.  Their  chronology  is  confused  but  seems  to 
make  these  troubles  coincide  with  a  persecution  in  Tibet, 
presumably  that  of  Lang-dar-ma.  If  so,  the  persecution  in 
Khotan  must  have  been  due  to  the  early  attacks  of  Moham 
medans  which  preceded  the  final  conquest  in  about  1000  A.D.1 

Neither  the  statements  of  the  Chinese  annalists  about  Central 
Asia  nor  its  own  traditions  prove  that  Buddhism  flourished  there 
before  the  Christian  era.  But  they  do  not  disprove  it  and  even 
if  the  dream  of  the  Emperor  Ming-Ti  and  the  consequent 
embassy  are  dismissed  as  legends,  it  is  admitted  that  Buddhism 
penetrated  to  China  by  land  not  later  than  the  early  decades  of 
that  era.  It  must  therefore  have  been  known  in  Central  Asia 
previously  and  perhaps  Khotan  was  the  place  where  it  first 

It  is  fairly  certain  that  about  160  B.C.  the  Yiieh-chih  moved 
westwards  and  settled  in  the  lands  of  the  Oxus  after  ejecting 
the  Sakas,  but  like  many  warlike  nomads  they  may  have  oscil 
lated  between  the  east  and  west,  recoiling  if  they  struck  against 
a  powerful  adversary  in  either  quarter.  Le  Coq  has  put  forward 
an  interesting  theory  of  their  origin.  It  is  that  they  were  one 
of  the  tribes  known  as  Scythians  in  Europe  and  at  an  unknown 

1  It  is  also  possible  that  Buddhism  had  a  bad  time  in  the  fifth  and  sixth  centuries 
at  the  hands  of  the  Tanguts,  Juan- Juan  and  White  Huns. 


period  moved  eastwards  from  southern  Russia,  perhaps  leaving 
traces  of  their  presence  in  the  monuments  still  existing  in  the 
district  of  Minussinsk.  He  also  identifies  them  with  the  red- 
haired,  blue-eyed  people  of  the  Chotscho  frescoes  and  the 
speakers  of  the  Tokharian  language.  But  these  interesting 
hypotheses  cannot  be  regarded  as  proved.  It  is,  however,  certain 
that  the  Yiieh-chih  invaded  India1,  founded  the  Kushan  Empire 
and  were  intimately  connected  (especially  in  the  person  of  their 
great  king  Kanishka)  with  Gandharan  art  and  the  form  of 
Buddhism  which  finds  expression  in  it.  Now  the  Chinese 
pilgrim  Fa-Hsien  (c.  400)  found  the  Hinayana  prevalent  in 
Shan-shan,  Kucha,  Kashgar,  Osh,  Udyana  and  Gandhara. 
Hsiian  Chuang  also  notes  its  presence  in  Balkh,  Bamian,  and 
Persia.  Both  notice  that  the  Mahayana  was  predominant  in 
Khotan  though  not  to  the  exclusion  of  the  other  school.  It 
would  appear  that  in  modern  language  the  North- West  Frontier 
province  of  India,  Afghanistan,  Badakshan  (with  small  adjoining 
states),  the  Pamir  regions  and  the  Tarim  basin  all  accepted 
Gandharan  Buddhism  and  at  one  time  formed  part  of  the 
Kushan  Empire. 

It  is  probably  to  this  Gandharan  Buddhism  that  the  Chinese 
pilgrims  refer  when  they  speak  of  the  Sarvastivadin  school  of 
the  Hinayana  as  prevalent.  It  is  known  that  this  school  was 
closely  connected  with  the  Council  of  Kanishka.  Its  meta 
physics  were  decidedly  not  Mahayanist  but  there  is  no  reason 
why  it  should  have  objected  to  the  veneration  of  such  Bodhisat- 
tvas  as  are  portrayed  in  the  Gandhara  sculptures.  An  interesting 
passage  in  the  life  of  Hsiian  Chuang  relates  that  he  had  a  dispute 
in  Kucha  with  a  Mahayanist  doctor  who  maintained  that  the 
books  called  Tsa-hsin,  Chii-she,  and  P'i-sha  were  sufficient  for 
salvation,  and  denounced  the  Yogasastra  as  heretical,  to  the 
great  indignation  of  the  pilgrim2  whose  practical  definition  of 
Mahayanism  seems  to  have  been  the  acceptance  of  this  work, 

1  The  Later  Han  Annals  say  that  the  Hindus  are  weaker  than  the  Yiieh-chih 
and  are  not  accustomed  to  fight  because  they  are  Buddhists.  (See  T'oung  Poo,  1910, 
p.  192.)  This  seems  to  imply  that  the  Yiieh-chih  were  not  Buddhists.   But  even 
this  was  the  real  view  of  the  compiler  of  the  Annals  we  do  not  know  from  what 
work  he  took  this  statement  nor  to  what  date  it  refers. 

a  See  Beal,  Life,  p.  39,  Julien,  p.  50.  The  books  mentioned  are  apparently  the 
Samyuktabhidharmahridaya  (Nanjio,  1287),  Abhidharma  Kosha  (Nanjio,  1267), 
Abhidharma-Vibhasha  (Nanjio,  1264)  and  Yogacaryabhumi  (Nanjio,  1170). 


reputed  to  have  been  revealed  by  Maitreya  to  Asanga.  Such  a 
definition  and  division  might  leave  in  the  Hinayana  much  that 
we  should  not  expect  to  find  there. 

The  Mahayanist  Buddhism  of  Khotan  was  a  separate  stream 
and  Hsiian  Chuang  says  that  it  came  from  Kashmir.  Though 
Kashmir  is  not  known  as  a  centre  of  Mahay  anism,  yet  it  would 
be  a  natural  route  for  men  and  ideas  passing  from  any  part  of 
India  to  Khotan. 


The  Tarim  basin  and  the  lands  of  the  Oxus1  were  a  region 
where  different  religions  and  cultures  mingled  and  there  is  no 
difficulty  in  supposing  that  Buddhism  might  have  amalgamated 
there  with  Zoroastrianism  or  Christianity.  The  question  is 
whether  there  is  any  evidence  for  such  amalgamation.  It  is 
above  all  in  its  relations  with  China  that  Central  Asia  appears 
as  an  exchange  of  religions.  It  passed  on  to  China  the  art  and 
thought  of  India,  perhaps  adding  something  of  its  own  on  the 
way  and  then  received  them  back  from  China  with  further 
additions2.  It  certainly  received  a  great  deal  from  Persia:  the 
number  of  manuscripts  in  different  Iranian  languages  puts  this 
beyond  doubt.  Equally  undoubted  is  its  debt  to  India,  but  it 
would  be  of  even  greater  interest  to  determine  whether  Indian 
Buddhism  owes  a  debt  to  Central  Asia  and  to  define  that  debt. 
For  Tibet  the  relation  was  mutual.  The  Tibetans  occupied  the 
Tarim  basin  during  a  century  and  according  to  their  traditions 
monks  went  from  Khotan  to  instruct  Tibet. 

The  Buddhist  literature  discovered  in  Central  Asia  represents, 
like  its  architecture,  several  periods.  We  have  first  of  all  the 
fragments  of  the  Sanskrit  Agamas,  found  at  Turfan,  Tun-huang, 
and  in  the  Khotan  district :  fragments  of  the  dramas  and  poems 
of  Asvaghosha  from  Turfan :  the  Pratimoksha  of  the  Sarvasti- 
vadins  from  Kucha  and  numerous  versions  of  the  anthology 
called  Dharmapada  or  Udana.  The  most  interesting  of  these  is 
the  Prakrit  version  found  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Khotan,  but 
fragments  in  Tokharian  and  Sanskrit  have  also  been  discovered. 

1  The  importance  of  the  Tarim  basin  is  due  to  the  excellent  preservation  of  its 
records  and  its  close  connection  with  China.  The  Oxus  regions  suffered  more  from 
Mohammedan  iconoclasm,  but  they  may  have  been  at  least  equally  important  for 
the  history  of  Buddhism. 

2  E.g.  see  the  Maitreya  inscription  of  Turfan. 


All  this  literature  probably  represents  the  canon  as  it  existed  in 
the  epoch  of  Kanishka  and  of  the  Gandharan  sculptures,  or  at 
least  the  older  stratum  in  that  canon. 

The  newer  stratum  is  composed  of  Mahayanist  sutras  of 
which  there  is  a  great  abundance,  though  no  complete  list  has 
been  published1.  The  popularity  of  the  Prajna-paramita,  the 
Lotus  and  the  Suvarna-prabhasa  is  attested.  The  last  was 
translated  into  both  Uigur  (from  the  Chinese)  and  into  "Iranien 
Oriental."  To  a  still  later  epoch2  belong  the  Dharanis  or  magical 
formulae  which  have  been  discovered  in  considerable  quantities. 

Sylvain  LeVi  has  shown  that  some  Mahayanist  sutras  were 
either  written  or  re-edited  in  Central  Asia3.  Not  only  do  they 
contain  lists  of  Central  Asian  place-names  but  these  receive  an 
importance  which  can  be  explained  only  by  the  local  patriotism 
of  the  writer  or  the  public  which  he  addressed.  Thus  the  Surya- 
garbha  sutra  praises  the  mountain  of  Gosringa  near  Khotan 
much  as  the  Puranas  celebrate  in  special  chapters  called 
Mahatmyas  the  merits  of  some  holy  place.  Even  more  remark 
able  is  a  list  in  the  Chandragarbha  sutra.  The  Buddha  in  one  of 
the  great  transformation  scenes  common  in  these  works  sends 
forth  rays  of  light  which  produce  innumerable  manifestations  of 
Buddhas.  India  (together  with  what  is  called  the  western  region) 
has  a  total  of  813  manifestations,  whereas  Central  Asia  and  China 
have  971.  Of  these  the  whole  Chinese  Empire  has  255,  the 
kingdoms  of  Khotan  and  Kucha  have  180  and  99  respectively, 
but  only  60  are  given  to  Benares  and  30  to  Magadha.  Clearly 
Central  Asia  was  a  very  important  place  for  the  author  of  this 

One  of  the  Turkish  sutras  discovered  at  Turfan  contains  a 
discourse  of  the  Buddha  to  the  merchants  Trapusha  and  Bhallika 
who  are  described  as  Turks  and  Indra  is  called  Kormusta,  that 
is  Hormuzd.  In  another  Brahma  is  called  Asrua,  identified  as 
the  Iranian  deity  Zervan5.  In  these  instances  no  innovation  of 
doctrine  is  implied  but  when  the  world  of  spirits  and  men 

1  Or  at  least  is  not  accessible  to  me  here  in  Hongkong,  1914. 

2  I  do  not  mean  to  say  that  all  Dharanis  are  late. 

8  It  is  even  probable  that  apocryphal  Sutras  were  composed  in  Central  Asia. 
See  Pelliot  in  Melanges  d*  Indianisme,  Sylvain  Levi,  p.  329. 

4  The  list  of  manifestations  in  Jambudvipa  enumerates  56  kingdoms.  All  cannot 
be  identified  with  certainty,  but  apparently  less  than  half  are  within  India  proper 

8  See  Bibl  Budd.  xn.  pp.  44,  46,  xiv.  p.  45. 


becomes  Central  Asian  instead  of  Indian,  it  is  only  natural  that 
the  doctrine  too  should  take  on  some  local  colour1. 

Thus  the  dated  inscription  of  the  temple  erected  in  Turfan 
A.D.  469  is  a  mixture  of  Chinese  ideas,  both  Confucian  and 
Taoist,  with  Indian.  It  is  in  honour  of  Maitreya,  a  Bodhisattva 
known  to  the  Hinayana,  but  here  regarded  not  merely  as  the 
future  Buddha  but  as  an  active  and  benevolent  deity  who 
manifests  himself  in  many  forms2,  a  view  which  also  finds 
expression  in  the  tradition  that  the  works  of  Asanga  were 
revelations  made  by  him.  Akasagarbha  and  the  Dharmakaya 
are  mentioned.  But  the  inscription  also  speaks  of  heaven  (t'ien) 
as  appointing  princes,  and  of  the  universal  law  (tao)  and  it 
contains  several  references  to  Chinese  literature. 

Even  more  remarkable  is  the  admixture  of  Buddhism  in 
Manicheeism.  The  discoveries  made  in  Central  Asia  make 
intelligible  the  Chinese  edict  of  739  which  accuses  the  Mani- 
chseans  of  falsely  taking  the  name  of  Buddhism  and  deceiving 
the  people3.  This  is  not  surprising  for  Mani  seems  to  have  taught 
that  Zoroaster,  Buddha  and  Christ  had  preceded  him  as 
apostles,  and  in  Buddhist  countries  his  followers  naturally 
adopted  words  and  symbols  familiar  to  the  people.  Thus 
Manichsean  deities  are  represented  like  Bodlu'sattvas  sitting 
cross-legged  on  a  lotus;  Mani  receives  the  epithet  Ju-lai  or 
Tathagata :  as  in  Amida's  Paradise,  there  are  holy  trees  bearing 
flowers  which  enclose  beings  styled  Buddha:  the  construction 
and  phraseology  of  Manichsean  books  resemble  those  of  a 
Buddhist  Sutra4.  In  some  ways  the  association  of  Taoism  and 
Manichseism  was  even  closer,  for  the  Hu-hua-ching  identifies 
Buddha  with  Lao-tzu  and  Mani,  and  two  Manichaean  books  have 
passed  into  the  Taoist  Canon6. 

1  The  Turkish  sutras  repeatedly  style  the  Buddha  God  (t'angri)  or  God  of  Gods. 
The  expression  devatideva  is  applied  to  him  in  Sanskrit,  but  the  Turkish  phrases 
are  more  decided  and  frequent.  The  Sanskrit  phrase  may  even  be  due  to  Iranian 

2  An  Chou,  the  Prince  to  whose  memory  the  temple  was  dedicated,  seems  to 
be  regarded  as  a  manifestation  of  Maitreya. 

3  J.A.  1913,  i.  p.  154.  The  series  of  three  articles  by  Chavannes  and  Pelliot 
entitled  "Un  traite  Manicheen  retrouve  en  Chine"  (J.A.  1911,  1913)  is  a  most 
valuable  contribution  to  our  knowledge  of  Manichseism  in  Central  Asia  and  China. 

4  E.g.  see  J.A.  1911,  pp.  509  and  589.  See  also  Le  Coq,  Sitzb.  preuss.  Akad.  der 
Wiss.  48,  1909,  1202-1218. 

6  J.A.  1913,  i.  pp.  116  and  132. 


Nestorian  Christianity  also  existed  in  the  Tarim  basin  and 
became  prominent  in  the  seventh  century.  This  agrees  with  the 
record  of  its  introduction  into  China  by  A-lo-pen  in  635  A.D., 
almost  simultaneously  with  Zoroastrianism.  Fragments  of  the 
New  Testament  have  been  found  at  Turfan  belonging  mostly 
to  the  ninth  century  but  one  to  the  fifth.  The  most  interesting 
document  for  the  history  of  Nestorianism  is  still  the  monument 
discovered  at  Si-ngan-fu  and  commonly  called  the  Nestorian 
stone1.  It  bears  a  long  inscription  partly  in  Chinese  and  partly 
in  Syriac  composed  by  a  foreign  priest  called  Adam  or  in  Chinese 
King-Tsing  giving  a  long  account  of  the  doctrines  and  history 
of  Nestorianism.  Not  only  does  this  inscription  contain  many 
Buddhist  phrases  (such  as  Seng  and  Ssu  for  Christian  priests 
and  monasteries)  but  it  deliberately  omits  all  mention  of  the 
crucifixion  and  merely  says  in  speaking  of  the  creation  that  God 
arranged  the  cardinal  points  in  the  shape  of  a  cross.  This  can 
hardly  be  explained  as  due  to  incomplete  statement  for  it  reviews 
in  some  detail  the  life  of  Christ  and  its  results.  The  motive  of 
omission  must  be  the  feeling  that  redemption  by  his  death  was 
not  an  acceptable  doctrine2.  It  is  interesting  to  find  that  King- 
Tsing  consorted  with  Buddhist  priests  and  even  set  about 
translating  a  sutra  from  the  Hu  language.  Takakusu  quotes  a 
passage  from  one  of  the  catalogues  of  the  Japanese  Tripitaka3 
which  states  that  he  was  a  Persian  and  collaborated  with  a  monk 
of  Kapisa  called  Prajfia. 

We  have  thus  clear  evidence  not  only  of  the  co-existence  of 
Buddhism  and  Christianity  but  of  friendly  relations  between 
Buddhist  and  Christian  priests.  The  Emperor's  objection  to  such 
commixture  of  religions  was  unusual  and  probably  due  to  zeal 
for  pure  Buddhism.  It  is  possible  that  in  western  China  and 
Central  Asia  Buddhism,  Taoism,  Manichseism,  Nestorianism  and 
Zoroastrianism  all  borrowed  from  one  another  just  as  the  first 
two  do  in  China  to-day  and  Buddhism  may  have  become 
modified  by  this  contact.  But  proof  of  it  is  necessary.  In  most 
places  Buddhism  was  in  strength  and  numbers  the  most  im- 

1  See  especially  Havret,  "La  stele  chre"tienne  de  Si-ngan-fu"  in  Varietcs  Sino 
logues,  pp.  7,  12  and  20. 

8  See  Havret,  I.e.  in.  p.  54,  for  some  interesting  remarks  respecting  the  unwilling 
ness  of  the  Nestorians  and  also  of  the  Jesuits  to  give  publicity  to  the  crucifixion. 

8  See  Takakusu,  I-tsing,  pp.  169,  223,  and  Toung  Pao,  1896,  p.  689. 


portant  of  all  these  religions  and  older  than  all  except  Zoroas- 
trianism.  Its  contact  with  Manichseism  may  possibly  date  from 
the  life  of  Mani,but  apparently  the  earliest  Christian  manuscripts 
found  in  Central  Asia  are  to  be  assigned  to  the  fifth  century. 

On  the  other  hand  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  contains  many 
translations  which  bear  an  earlier  date  than  this  and  are 
ascribed  to  translators  connected  with  the  Yueh-chih.  I  see  no 
reason  to  doubt  the  statements  that  the  Happy  Land  sutra  and 
Prajna-paramita  (Nanjio,  25,  5)  were  translated  before  200  A.D. 
and  portions  of  the  Avatamsaka  and  Lotus  (Nanjio,  100,  103, 
138)  before  300  A.D.  But  if  so,  the  principal  doctrines  of 
Mahayanist  Buddhism  must  have  been  known  in  Khotan1  and 
the  lands  of  Oxus  before  we  have  definite  evidence  for  the 
presence  of  Christianity  there. 

Zoroastrianism  may  however  have  contributed  to  the  de 
velopment  and  transformation  of  Buddhism  for  the  two  were 
certainly  in  contact.  Thus  the  coins  of  Kanishka  bear  figures  of 
Persian  deities2  more  frequently  than  images  of  the  Buddha: 
we  know  from  Chinese  sources  that  the  two  religions  co-existed 
at  Khotan  and  Kashgar  and  possibly  there  are  hostile  references 
to  Buddhism  (Buiti  and  Gaotema  the  heretic)  in  the  Persian 

It  is  true  that  we  should  be  cautious  in  fancying  that  we 
detect  a  foreign  origin  for  the  Mahayana.  Different  as  it  may 
be  from  the  Buddhism  of  the  Pali  Canon,  it  is  an  Indian  not  an 
exotic  growth.  Deification,  pantheism,  the  creation  of  radiant 
or  terrible  deities,  extreme  forms  of  idealism  or  nihilism  in 
metaphysics  are  tendencies  manifested  in  Hinduism  as  clearly 
as  in  Buddhism.  Even  the  doctrine  of  the  Buddha's  three 
bodies,  which  sounds  like  an  imitation  of  the  Christian  Trinity, 
has  roots  in  the  centuries  before  the  Christian  era.  But  late 
Buddhism  indubitably  borrowed  many  personages  from  the 
Hindu  pantheon,  and  when  we  find  Buddhas  and  Bodhisattvas 
such  as  Amitabha,  Avalokita,  Manjusri  and  Kshitigarbha  with 
out  clear  antecedents  in  India  we  may  suspect  that  they  are 
borrowed  from  some  other  mythology,  and  if  similar  figures 
were  known  to  Zoroastrianism,  that  may  be  their  source. 

1  Turfan  and  Kucha  are  spoken  of  as  being  mainly  Hinayanist. 

a  See  Stein,  Zoroastrian  deities  on  I ndo- Scythian  coins,  1887. 

8  See  8,B.E.  iv.  (Vendidad)  pp.  145,  209;  xxm.  p.  184,  v.  p.  in. 


The  most  important  of  them  is  Amitabha.  He  is  strangely 
obscure  in  the  earlier  art  and  literature  of  Indian  Buddhism. 
Some  of  the  nameless  Buddha  figures  in  the  Gandharan  sculp 
tures  may  represent  him,  but  this  is  not  proved  and  the  works 
of  Griinwedel  and  Foucher  suggest  that  compared  with  Avalokita 
and  Tara  his  images  are  late  and  not  numerous.  In  the  earlier 
part  of  the  Lotus1  he  is  only  just  mentioned  as  if  he  were  of  no 
special  importance.  He  is  also  mentioned  towards  the  end  of 
the  Awakening  of  Faith  ascribed  to  Asvaghosha,  but  the  author 
ship  of  the  work  cannot  be  regarded  as  certain  and,  if  it  were, 
the  passage  stands  apart  from  the  main  argument  and  might 
well  be  an  addition.  Again  in  the  Mahayana-sutralankara2  of 
Asanga,  his  paradise  is  just  mentioned. 

Against  these  meagre  and  cursory  notices  in  Indian  literature 
may  be  set  the  fact  that  two  translations  of  the  principal 
Amidist  scripture  into  Chinese  were  made  in  the  second  century 
A.D.  and  four  in  the  third,  all  by  natives  of  Central  Asia.  The 
inference  that  the  worship  of  Amitabha  flourished  in  Central 
Asia  some  time  before  the  earliest  of  these  translations  is 

According  to  Taranatha,  the  Tibetan  historian  of  Buddhism3, 
this  worship  goes  back  to  Saraha  or  Rahulabhadra.  He  was 
reputed  to  have  been  the  teacher  of  Nagarjuna  and  a  great 
magician.  He  saw  Amitabha  in  the  land  of  Dhingkota  and  died 
with  his  face  turned  towards  Sukhavati.  I  have  found  no 
explanation  of  the  name  Dhingkota  but  the  name  Saraha  does 
not  sound  Indian.  He  is  said  to  have  been  a  sudra  and  he  is 
represented  in  Tibetan  pictures  with  a  beard  and  topknot  and 
holding  an  arrow4  in  his  hand.  In  all  this  there  is  little  that 
can  be  called  history,  but  still  it  appears  that  the  first  person 
whom  tradition  connects  with  the  worship  of  Amitabha  was 
of  low  caste,  bore  a  foreign  name,  saw  the  deity  in  an  unknown 
country,  and  like  many  tantric  teachers  was  represented  as 
totally  unlike  a  Buddhist  monk.  It  cannot  be  proved  that  he 
came  from  the  lands  of  the  Oxus  or  Turkestan,  but  such  an 

1  Chap.  vii.  The  notices  in  Chaps,  xxn.  and  xxiv.  are  rather  more  detailed  but 
also  later. 

2  xn.  p.  23. 

3  Transl.  Schiefner,  pp.  93,  105  and  303,  and  Pander's  Pantheon,  No.  11.   But 
Taranatha  also  says  that  he  was  Aryadeva's  pupil. 

4  Sara  in  Sanskrit. 

E.  m.  15 


origin  would  explain  much  in  the  tradition.  On  the  other  hand, 
there  would  be  no  difficulty  in  accounting  for  Zoroastrian 
influence  at  Peshawar  or  Takkasila  within  the  frontiers  of  India. 

Somewhat  later  Vasubandhu  is  stated  to  have  preached  faith 
in  Amitabha  but  it  does  not  appear  that  this  doctrine  ever  had 
in  India  a  tithe  of  the  importance  which  it  obtained  in  the  Far 

The  essential  features  of  Amidist  doctrine  are  that  there  is 
a  paradise  of  light  belonging  to  a  benevolent  deity  and  that 
the  good1  who  invoke  his  name  will  be  led  thither.  Both 
features  are  found  in  Zoroastrian  writings.  The  highest  heaven 
(following  after  the  paradises  of  good  thoughts,  good  words  and 
good  deeds)  is  called  Boundless  Light  or  Endless  Light2.  Both 
this  region  and  its  master,  Ahuramazda,  are  habitually  spoken 
of  in  terms  implying  radiance  and  glory.  Also  it  is  a  land  of 
song,  just  as  Amitabha's  paradise  re-echoes  with  music  and 
pleasant  sounds3.  Prayers  can  win  this  paradise  and  Ahura 
Mazda  and  the  Archangels  will  come  and  show  the  way  thither 
to  the  pious4.  Further  whoever  recites  the  Ahuna-vairya 
formula,  Ahura  Mazda  will  bring  his  soul  to  "the  lights  of 
heaven5,"  and  although,  so  far  as  I  know,  it  is  not  expressly 
stated  that  the  repetition  of  Ahura  Mazda's  name  leads  to 
paradise,  yet  the  general  efficacy  of  his  names  as  invocations  is 
clearly  affirmed6. 

Thus  all  the  chief  features  of  Amitabha's  paradise  are 
Persian:  only  his  method  of  instituting  it  by  making  a  vow  is 
Buddhist.  It  is  true  that  Indian  imagination  had  conceived 
numerous  paradises,  and  that  the  early  Buddhist  legend  tells  of 
the  Tushita  heaven.  But  Sukhavati  is  not  like  these  abodes  of 
bliss.  It  appears  suddenly  in  the  history  of  Buddhism  as  some 
thing  exotic,  grafted  adroitly  on  the  parent  trunk  but  sometimes 
overgrowing  it7. 

1  The  doctrine  of  salvation  by  faith  alone  seems  to  be  later.  The  longer  and 
apparently  older  version  of  the  Sukhavati  Vyuha  insists  on  good  works  as  a  con 
dition  of  entry  into  Paradise. 

2  S.B.E.  iv.  p.  293;  ib.  xxxra.  pp.  317  and  344. 

3  It  may  also  be  noticed  that  Ameretat,  the  Archangel  of  immortality,  presides 
over  vegetation  and  that  Amida's  paradise  is  full  of  flowers. 

4  S.B.E.  xxm.  pp.  335-7.  5  S.B.E.  xxxi.  p.  261. 
8  S.B.E.  xxm.  pp.  21-31  (the  Ormasd  Yasht). 

7  Is  it  possible  that  there  is  any  connection  between  Sukhavati  and  the  land  of 
Saukavastan,  governed  by  an  immortal  ruler  and  located  by  the  Bundehish  between 

xu]  CENTRAL  ASIA  221 

Avalokita  is  also  connected  with  Amitabha's  paradise.  His 
figure,  though  its  origin  is  not  clear,  assumes  distinct  and  con 
spicuous  proportions  in  India  at  a  fairly  early  date.  There 
appears  to  be  no  reason  for  associating  him  specially  with 
Central  Asia.  On  the  other  hand  later  works  describe  him  as 
the  spiritual  son  or  reflex  of  Amitabha.  This  certainly  recalls 
the  Iranian  idea  of  the  Fravashi  defined  as  "a  spiritual  being 
conceived  as  a  part  of  a  man's  personality  but  existing  before 
he  is  born  and  in  independence  of  him:  it  can  also  belong  to 
divine  beings1."  Although  India  offers  in  abundance  both  divine 
incarnations  and  explanations  thereof  yet  none  of  these  describe 
the  relationship  between  a  Dhyani  Buddha  and  his  Boddhisattva 
so  well  as  the  Zoroastrian  doctrine  of  the  Fravashi. 

S.  L6vi  has  suggested  that  the  Bodhisattva  Manjusri  is  of 
Tokharian  origin2.  His  worship  at  Wu-tai-shan  in  Shan-si  is 
ancient  and  later  Indian  tradition  connected  him  with  China. 
Local  traditions  also  connect  him  with  Nepal,  Tibet,  and  Khotan, 
and  he  is  sometimes  represented  as  the  first  teacher  of  civili 
zation  or  religion.  But  although  his  Central  Asian  origin  is 
eminently  probable,  I  do  not  at  present  see  any  clear  proof  of  it. 

The  case  of  the  Bodhisattva  Kshitigarbha3  is  similar.  He 
appears  to  have  been  known  but  not  prominent  in  India  in  the 
fourth  century  A.D.:  by  the  seventh  century  if  not  earlier  his 
cult  was  flourishing  in  China  and  subsequently  he  became  in 
the  Far  East  a  popular  deity  second  only  to  Kuan-yin.  This 
popularity  was  connected  with  his  gradual  transformation  into 
a  god  of  the  dead.  It  is  also  certain  that  he  was  known  in  Central 
Asia4  but  whether  he  first  became  important  there  or  in  China 
is  hard  to  decide.  The  devotion  of  the  Chinese  to  their  dead 
suggests  that  it  was  among  them  that  he  acquired  his  great 
position,  but  his  role  as  a  guide  to  the  next  world  has  a  parallel 
in  the  similar  benevolent  activity  of  the  Zoroastrian  angel  Srosh. 

Turkistan  and  Chinistan?  I  imagine  there  is  no  etymological  relationship,  but  if 
Saukavastan  was  well  known  as  a  land  of  the  blessed  it  may  have  influenced  the 
choice  of  a  significant  Sanskrit  word  with  a  similar  sound. 

1  E.R.E.  sub  voce. 

2  J.A.  1912,  i.  p.  622.   Unfortunately  only  a  brief  notice  of  his  communication 
is  given  with  no  details.   See  also  S.  Levi,  Le  Ntpdl,  pp.  330  ff. 

8  Ti-tsang  in  Chinese,  Jizo  in  Japanese.  See  for  his  history  Visser's  elaborate 
articles  in  Ostasiatische  Ztsft.  1913-1915. 

4  He  was  accepted  by  the  Manichseans  as  one  of  the  Envoys  of  Light.  J.A. 
1911,  n.  p.  549. 


One  of  Central  Asia's  clearest  titles  to  importance  in  the 
history  of  the  East  is  that  it  was  the  earliest  and  on  the  whole 
the  principal  source  of  Chinese  Buddhism,  to  which  I  now  turn. 
Somewhat  later,  teachers  also  came  to  China  by  sea  and  still 
later,  under  the  Yuan  dynasty,  Lamaism  was  introduced  direct 
from  Tibet.  But  from  at  least  the  beginning  of  our  era  onwards, 
monks  went  eastwards  from  Central  Asia  to  preach  and  translate 
the  scriptures  and  it  was  across  Central  Asia  that  Chinese 
pilgrims  went  to  India  in  search  of  the  truth. 


Prefatory  note. 

FOB  the  transcription  of  Chinese  words  I  use  the  modern  Peking 
pronunciation  as  represented  in  Giles's  Dictionary.  It  may  be  justly 
objected  that  of  all  dialects  Pekingese  is  perhaps  the  furthest  removed 
from  ancient  Chinese  and  therefore  unsuited  for  historical  studies 
and  also  that  Wade's  system  of  transcription  employed  by  Giles  is 
open  to  serious  criticism.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  I  am  not  competent 
to  write  according  to  the  pronunciation  of  Nanking  or  Canton  all 
the  names  which  appear  in  these  chapters  and,  if  I  were,  it  would 
not  be  a  convenience  to  my  readers.  Almost  all  English  works  of 
reference  about  China  use  the  forms  registered  in  Giles's  Dictionary 
or  near  approximations  to  them,  and  any  variation  would  produce 
difficulty  and  confusion.  French  and  German  methods  of  transcribing 
Chinese  differ  widely  from  Wade's  and  unfortunately  there  seems  to 
be  no  prospect  of  sinologues  agreeing  on  any  international  system. 


THE  study  of  Chinese  Buddhism  is  interesting  but  difficult1. 
Here  more  than  in  other  Asiatic  countries  we  feel  that  the  words 
and  phrases  natural  to  a  European  language  fail  to  render  justly 
the  elementary  forms  of  thought,  the  simplest  relationships. 
But  Europeans  are  prone  to  exaggerate  the  mysterious,  topsy 
turvy  character  of  the  Chinese  mind.  Such  epithets  are  based 
on  the  assumption  that  human  thought  and  conduct  normally 
conform  to  reason  and  logic,  and  that  when  such  conformity  is 
wanting  the  result  must  be  strange  and  hardly  human,  or  at 
least  such  as  no  respectable  European  could  expect  or  approve. 
But  the  assumption  is  wrong.  In  no  country  with  which  I  am 

1  For  Chinese  Buddhism  see  especially  Johnston,  Chinese  Buddhism,  1913  (cited 
as  Johnston).  Much  information  about  the  popular  side  of  Buddhism  and  Taoism 
may  be  found  in  Recherches  sur  les  superstitions  en  Chine  par  le  Pere  Henri  Dore, 
10  vols.  1911-1916,  Shanghai  (cited  as  Dore). 


acquainted  are  logic  and  co-ordination  of  ideas  more  wanting 
than  in  the  British  Isles.  This  is  not  altogether  a  fault,  for  human 
systems  are  imperfect  and  the  rigorous  application  of  any  one 
imperfect  system  must  end  in  disaster.  But  the  student  of 
Asiatic  psychology  must  begin  his  task  by  recognising  that  in 
the  West  and  East  alike,  the  thoughts  of  nations,  though  not 
always  of  individuals,  are  a  confused  mosaic  where  the  pattern 
has  been  lost  and  a  thousand  fancies  esteemed  at  one  time  or 
another  as  pleasing,  useful  or  respectable  are  crowded  into  the 
available  space.  This  is  especially  true  in  the  matter  of  religion. 
An  observer  fresh  to  the  subject  might  find  it  hard  to  formulate 
the  relations  to  one  another  and  to  the  Crown  of  the  various 
forms  of  Christianity  prevalent  in  our  Empire  or  to  understand 
how  the  English  Church  can  be  one  body,  when  some  sections 
of  it  are  hardly  distinguishable  from  Roman  Catholicism  and 
others  from  non-conformist  sects.  In  the  same  way  Chinese 
religion  offers  startling  combinations  of  incongruous  rites  and 
doctrines:  the  attitude  of  the  laity  and  of  the  government  to 
the  different  churches  is  not  to  be  defined  in  ordinary  European 
terms  and  yet  if  one  examines  the  practice  of  Europe,  it  will 
often  throw  light  on  the  oddities  of  China. 

The  difficulty  of  finding  a  satisfactory  equivalent  in  Chinese 
for  the  word  God  is  well  known  and  has  caused  much  discussion 
among  missionaries.  Confucius  inherited  and  handed  on  a 
worship  of  Heaven  which  inspired  some  noble  sayings  and  may 
be  admitted  to  be  monotheism.  But  it  was  a  singularly  im 
personal  monotheism  and  had  little  to  do  with  popular  religion, 
being  regarded  as  the  prerogative  and  special  cult  of  the  Em 
peror.  The  people  selected  their  deities  from  a  numerous 
pantheon  of  spirits,  falling  into  many  classes  among  which  two 
stand  out  clearly,  namely,  nature  spirits  and  spirits  of  ancestors. 
All  these  deities,  as  we  must  call  them  for  want  of  a  better  word, 
present  odd  features,  which  have  had  some  influence  on  Chinese 
Buddhism.  The  boundary  between  the  human  and  the  spirit 
worlds  is  slight.  Deification  and  euhemerism  are  equally 
natural  to  the  Chinese.  Not  only  are  worthies  of  every  sort 
made  into  gods1,  but  foreign  deities  are  explained  on  the  same 

1  A  curious  instance  of  deification  is  mentioned  in  Musdon,  1914,  p.  61.  It 
appears  that  several  deceased  Jesuits  have  been  deified.  For  a  recent  instance  of 
deification  in  1913  see  Dore,  x.  p.  753. 

XLH]  CHINA  225 

principle.  Thus  Yen-lo  (Yama),  the  king  of  the  dead,  is  said  to 
have  been  a  Chinese  official  of  the  sixth  century  A.D.  But  there 
is  little  mythology.  The  deities  are  like  the  figures  on  porcelain 
vases:  all  know  their  appearance  and  some  their  names,  but 
hardly  anyone  can  give  a  coherent  account  of  them.  A  poly- 
daemonism  of  this  kind  is  even  more  fluid  than  Hinduism :  you 
may  invent  any  god  you  like  and  neglect  gods  that  don't  concern 
you.  The  habit  of  mind  which  produces  sects  in  India,  namely 
the  desire  to  exalt  one's  own  deity  above  others  and  make  him  the 
All-God,  does  not  exist.  No  Chinese  god  inspires  such  feelings. 

The  deities  of  medieval  and  modern  China,  including  the 
spirits  recognized  by  Chinese  Buddhism,  are  curiously  mixed 
and  vague  personalities1.  Nature  worship  is  not  absent,  but  it 
is  nature  as  seen  by  the  fancy  of  the  alchemist  and  astrologer. 
The  powers  that  control  nature  are  also  identified  with  ancient 
heroes,  but  they  are  mostly  heroes  of  the  type  of  St  George  and 
the  Dragon  of  whom  history  has  little  to  say,  and  Chinese  respect 
for  the  public  service  and  official  rank  takes  the  queer  form  of 
regarding  these  spirits  as  celestial  functionaries.  Thus  the  gods 
have  a  Ministry  of  Thunder  which  supervises  the  weather  and 
a  Board  of  Medicine  which  looks  after  sickness  and  health. 

The  characteristic  expression  of  Chinese  popular  religion  is 
not  exactly  myth  or  legend  but  religious  romance.  A  writer 
starts  from  some  slender  basis  of  fact  and  composes  an  edifying 
novel.  Thus  the  well-known  story  called  Hsi-Yu-Chi2  purports 
to  be  an  account  of  Hsiian  Chuang's  journey  to  India  but,  ex 
cept  that  it  represents  the  hero  as  going  there  and  returning 
with  copies  of  the  scriptures,  it  is  romance  pure  and  simple,  a 

1  The  spirits  called  San  Kuan  ^*  It?  or  San  Yuan  ^ ."J^j  are  a  £oocl  instance 
of  Chinese  deities.  The  words  mean  Three  Agents  or  Principles  who  strictly  speaking 
have  no  names:  (a)  Originally  they  appear  to  represent  Heaven,  Earth  and  Water. 
(6)  Then  they  stand  for  three  periods  of  the  year  and  the  astrological  influences 
which  rule  each,   (c)  As  Agents,  and  more  or  less  analogous  to  human  personalities, 
Heaven  gives  happiness,  Earth  pardons  sins  and  Water  delivers  from  misfortune. 
(d)  They  are  identified  with  the  ancient  Emperors  Yao,  Shun,  Yii.    (e)  They  are 
also  identified  with  three  Censors  under  the  Emperor  Li-Wang,  B.C.  878-841. 

2  3§jS£jm'  Hsiian  Chuang's  own  account  of  his  travels  bears  the  slightly 

different  title  of  Hsi-Yu-Chi.  BlffPtftE'  The  work  noticecl  here  is  attributed 
to  Chiu  Ch'ang  Ch'un,  a  Taoist  priest  ofthe  thirteenth  century.  It  is  said  to  be  the 
Buddhist  book  most  widely  read  in  Korea  where  it  is  printed  in  the  popular  script. 
An  abridged  English  translation  has  been  published  by  T.  Richard  under  the  title 
of  A  Mission  to  Heaven. 


fantastic  Pilgrim's  Progress,  the  scene  of  which  is  sometimes  on 
earth  and  sometimes  in  the  heavens.  The  traveller  is  accom 
panied  by  allegorical  creatures  such  as  a  magic  monkey,  a  pig, 
and  a  dragon  horse,  who  have  each  their  own  significance  and 
may  be  seen  represented  in  Buddhist  and  Taoist  temples  even 
to-day.  So  too  another  writer,  starting  from  the  tradition  that 
Avalokita  (or  Kuan-Yin)  was  once  a  benevolent  human  being, 
set  himself  to  write  the  life  of  Kuan-Yin,  represented  as  a 
princess  endued  with  every  virtue  who  cheerfully  bears  cruel 
persecution  for  her  devotion  to  Buddhism.  It  would  be  a 
mistake  to  seek  in  this  story  any  facts  throwing  light  on  the 
history  of  Avalokita  and  his  worship.  It  is  a  religious  novel, 
important  only  because  it  still  finds  numerous  readers. 

It  is  commonly  said  that  the  Chinese  belong  to  three  religions, 
Confucianism,  Buddhism  and  Taoism,  and  the  saying  is  not 
altogether  inaccurate.  Popular  language  speaks  of  the  three 
creeds  and  an  ordinary  person  in  the  course  of  his  life  may  take 
part  in  rites  which  imply  a  belief  in  them  all1.  Indeed  the  fusion 
is  so  complete  that  one  may  justly  talk  of  Chinese  religion,  mean 
ing  the  jumble  of  ceremonies  and  beliefs  accepted  by  the  average 
man.  Yet  at  the  same  time  it  is  possible  to  be  an  enthusiast 
for  any  one  of  the  three  without  becoming  unconventional. 

Of  the  three  religions,  Confucianism  has  a  disputable  claim 
to  the  title.  If  the  literary  classes  of  China  find  it  sufficient,  they 
do  so  only  by  rejecting  the  emotional  and  speculative  sides  of 
religion.  The  Emperor  Wan-li2  made  a  just  epigram  when  he 
said  that  Confucianism  and  Buddhism  are  like  the  wings  of  a 
bird.  Each  requires  the  co-operation  of  the  other.  Confucius 
was  an  ethical  and  political  philosopher,  not  a  prophet,  hiero- 
phant  or  church  founder.  As  a  moralist  he  stands  in  the  first 
rank,  and  I  doubt  if  either  the  Gospels  or  the  Pitakas  contain 
maxims  for  the  life  of  a  good  citizen  equal  to  his  sayings.  But 
he  ignored  that  unworldly  morality  which,  among  Buddhists 
and  Christians,  is  so  much  admired  and  so  little  practised.  In 
religion  he  claimed  no  originality,  he  brought  no  revelation,  but 

1  I  am  writing  immediately  after  the  abolition  of  the  Imperial  Government 
(1912),  and  what  I  say  naturally  refers  to  a  state  of  things  which  is  passing  away. 
But  it  is  too  soon  to  say  how  the  new  regime  will  affect  religion.  There  is  an  old 
saying  that  China  is  supported  by  the  three  religions  as  a  tripod  by  three  legs. 

a  Jit  f^f  strictly  speaking  the  title  of  his  reign  1573-1620. 

xui]  CHINA  227 

he  accepted  the  current  ideas  of  his  age  and  time,  though 
perhaps  he  eliminated  many  popular  superstitions.  He  com 
mended  the  worship  of  Heaven,  which,  if  vague,  still  connected 
the  deity  with  the  moral  law,  and  he  enjoined  sacrifice  to 
ancestors  and  spirits.  But  all  this  apparently  without  any 
theory.  His  definition  of  wisdom  is  well  known:  "to  devote 
oneself  to  human  duties  and  keep  aloof  from  spirits  while  still 
respecting  them."  This  is  not  the  utterance  of  a  sceptical  states 
man,  equivalent  to  "remember  the  political  importance  of 
religion  but  keep  clear  of  it,  so  far  as  you  can."  The  best 
commentary  is  the  statement  in  the  Analects  that  he  seldom 
spoke  about  the  will  of  Heaven,  yet  such  of  his  utterances  about 
it  as  have  been  preserved  are  full  of  awe  and  submission1. 
A  certain  delicacy  made  him  unwilling  to  define  or  discuss  the 
things  for  which  he  felt  the  highest  reverence,  and  a  similar 
detached  but  respectful  attitude  is  still  a  living  constituent 
of  Chinese  society.  The  scholar  and  gentleman  will  not  engage 
in  theological  or  metaphysical  disputes,  but  he  respectfully  takes 
part  in  ceremonies  performed  in  honour  of  such  venerated  names 
as  Heaven,  Earth  and  Confucius  himself.  Less  willingly,  but 
still  without  remonstrance,  he  attends  Buddhist  or  Taoist 

If  it  is  hard  to  define  the  religious  element  in  Confucianism, 
it  is  still  harder  to  define  Taoism,  but  for  another  reason, 
namely,  that  the  word  has  more  than  one  meaning.  In  one 
sense  it  is  the  old  popular  religion  of  China,  of  which  Confucius 
selected  the  scholarly  and  gentlemanly  features.  Taoism,  on 
the  contrary,  rejected  no  godlings  and  no  legends  however 
grotesque:  it  gave  its  approval  to  the  most  extravagant  and 
material  superstitions,  especially  to  the  belief  that  physical 
immortality  could  be  insured  by  drinking  an  elixir,  which  proved 
fatal  to  many  illustrious  dupes.  As  an  organized  body  it  owes 
its  origin  to  Chang-Ling  (c.  130  A.D.)  and  his  grandson  Chang  - 
Lu2.  The  sect  received  its  baptism  of  blood  but  made  terms  with 
the  Chinese  Government,  one  condition  being  that  a  member 
of  the  house  of  Chang  should  be  recognized  as  its  hereditary 

1  Compare  Anal  ix.  1  and  xiv.  38.  2.   See  also  Doctrine  of  the  Mean,  chap,  xvi, 
for  more  positive  views  about  spirits. 

2  SS[^  and  SH'fP  -    See  De  Groot>  "Origins  of  the  Taoist  Church"  in 
Trans.  Third  Congress  Hist.  Relig.  1908. 


Patriarch  or  Pope1.  Rivalry  with  Buddhism  also  contributed 
to  give  Taoism  something  of  that  consistency  in  doctrine  and 
discipline  which  we  associate  with  the  word  religion,  for  in 
their  desire  to  show  that  they  were  as  good  as  their  opponents 
the  Taoists  copied  them  in  numerous  and  important  particulars, 
for  instance  triads  of  deities,  sacred  books  and  monastic  in 

The  power  of  inventive  imitation  is  characteristic  of  Taoism2. 
In  most  countries  great  gods  are  children  of  the  popular  mind. 
After  long  gestation  and  infancy  they  emerge  as  deities  bound 
to  humanity  by  a  thousand  ties  of  blood  and  place.  But  the 
Taoists,  whenever  they  thought  a  new  deity  needful  or  orna 
mental,  simply  invented  him,  often  with  the  sanction  of  an 
Imperial  Edict.  Thus  Yii-Ti3,  the  precious  or  jade  Emperor, 
who  is  esteemed  the  supreme  ruler  of  the  world,  was  created  or 
at  least  brought  into  notice  about  1012  A. D.  by  the  Emperor 
Chen  Tsung4  who  pretended  to  have  correspondence  with  him. 
He  is  probably  an  adaptation  of  Indra  and  is  also  identified 
with  a  prince  of  ancient  China,  but  cannot  be  called  a  popular 
hero  like  Rama  or  Krishna,  and  has  not  the  same  hold  on  the 
affections  of  the  people. 

But  Taoism  is  also  the  name  commonly  given  not  only  to 
this  fanciful  church  but  also  to  the  philosophic  ideas  expounded 
in  the  Tao-te-ching  and  in  the  works  of  Chuang-tzu.  The  Taoist 
priesthood  claim  this  philosophy,  but  the  two  have  no  necessary 
connection.  Taoism  as  philosophy  represents  a  current  of 
thought  opposed  to  Confucianism,  compared  with  which  it  is 
ascetic,  mystic  and  pantheistic,  though  except  in  comparison 
it  does  not  deserve  such  epithets.  My  use  of  pantheistic  in 
particular  may  raise  objection,  but  it  seems  to  me  that  Tao, 
however  hard  to  define,  is  analogous  to  Brahman,  the  impersonal 
Spirit  of  Hindu  philosophy.  The  universe  is  the  expression  of 
Tao  and  in  conforming  to  Tao  man  finds  happiness.  For  Con 
fucianism,  as  for  Europe,  man  is  the  pivot  and  centre  of  things, 

1  Chang  Yiian-hsu,  who  held  office  in  1912,  was  deprived  of  his  titles  by  the 
Republican  Government.    In  1914  petitions  were  presented  for  their  restoration, 
but  I  do  not  know  with  what  result.  See  Peking  Daily  News,  September  5th,  1914. 

2  Something  similar  may  be  seen  in  Mormonism  where  angels  and  legends  have 
been  invented  by  individual  fancy  without  any  background  of  tradition. 

XLII]  CHINA  229 

but  less  so  for  Taoism  and  Buddhism.  Philosophic  Taoism, 
being  somewhat  abstruse  and  unpractical,  might  seem  to  have 
little  chance  of  becoming  a  popular  superstition.  But  from  early 
times  it  was  opposed  to  Confucianism,  and  as  Confucianism 
became  more  and  more  the  hall-mark  of  the  official  and  learned 
classes,  Taoism  tended  to  become  popular,  at  the  expense  of 
degrading  itself.  From  early  times  too  it  dallied  with  such 
fascinating  notions  as  the  acquisition  of  miraculous  powers  and 
longevity.  But,  as  an  appeal  to  the  emotional  and  spiritual 
sides  of  humanity,  it  was,  if  superior  to  Confucianism,  inferior 
to  Buddhism. 

Buddhism,  unlike  Confucianism  and  Taoism,  entered  China 
as  a  foreign  religion,  but,  in  using  this  phrase,  we  must  ask  how 
far  any  system  of  belief  prevalent  there  is  accepted  as  what  we 
call  a  religion.  Even  in  Ceylon  and  Burma  people  follow  the 
observances  of  two  religions  or  at  least  of  a  religion  and  a 
superstition,  but  they  would  undoubtedly  call  themselves 
Buddhists.  In  China  the  laity  use  no  such  designations  and 
have  no  sense  of  exclusive  membership.  For  them  a  religion  is 
comparable  to  a  club,  which  they  use  for  special  purposes.  You 
may  frequent  both  Buddhist  and  Taoist  temples  just  as  you 
may  belong  to  both  the  Geographical  and  Zoological  Societies. 
Perhaps  the  position  of  spiritualism  in  England  offers  the 
nearest  analogy  to  a  Chinese  religion.  There  are,  I  believe,  some 
few  persons  for  whom  spiritualism  is  a  definite,  sufficient  and 
exclusive  creed.  These  may  be  compared  to  the  Buddhist  clergy 
with  a  small  minority  of  the  laity.  But  the  majority  of  those 
who  are  interested  or  even  believe  in  spiritualism,  do  not 
identify  themselves  with  it  in  this  way.  They  attend  seances 
as  their  curiosity  or  affections  may  prompt,  but  these  beliefs 
and  practices  do  not  prevent  them  from  also  belonging  to  a 
Christian  denomination.  Imagine  spiritualism  to  be  better 
organized  as  an  institution  and  you  will  have  a  fairly  accurate 
picture  of  the  average  Chinaman's  attitude  to  Buddhism  and 
Taoism.  One  may  also  compare  the  way  in  which  English  poets 
use  classical  mythology.  Lycidas,  for  instance,  is  an  astounding 
compound  of  classical  and  biblical  ideas,  and  Milton  does  not 
hesitate  to  call  the  Supreme  Being  Jove  in  a  serious  passage. 
Yet  Milton's  Christianity  has  never,  so  far  as  I  know,  been  called 
in  question. 


There  is  an  obvious  historical  parallel  between  the  religions 
of  the  Chinese  and  early  Roman  Empires.  In  both,  the  imperial 
and  official  worship  was  political  and  indifferent  to  dogma 
without  being  hostile,  provided  no  sectary  refused  to  call  the 
Emperor  Son  of  Heaven  or  sacrifice  to  his  image.  In  both, 
ample  provision  was  made  outside  the  state  cult  for  allaying 
the  fears  of  superstition,  as  well  as  for  satisfying  the  soul's 
thirst  for  knowledge  and  emotion.  A  Roman  magistrate  of  the 
second  century  A.D.  may  have  offered  official  sacrifices,  pro 
pitiated  local  genii,  and  attended  the  mysteries  of  Mithra,  in 
the  same  impartial  way  as  Chinese  magistrates  took  part  a  few 
years  ago  in  the  ceremonies  of  Confucianism,  Taoism  and 
Buddhism.  In  both  cases  there  was  entire  liberty  to  combine 
with  the  official  religious  routine  private  beliefs  and  observances 
incongruous  with  it  and  often  with  one  another:  in  both  there 
was  the  same  essential  feature  that  no  deity  demanded  exclusive 
allegiance.  The  popular  polytheism  of  China  is  indeed  closely 
analogous  to  the  paganism  of  the  ancient  world1.  Hinduism 
contains  too  much  personal  religion  and  real  spiritual  feeling 
to  make  the  resemblance  perfect,  but  in  dealing  with  Apollo, 
Mars  and  Venus  a  Roman  of  the  early  Empire  seems  to  have 
shown  the  mixture  of  respect  and  scepticism  which  is  charac 
teristic  of  China. 

This  attitude  implies  not  only  a  certain  want  of  conviction 
but  also  a  utilitarian  view  of  religion.  The  Chinese  visit  a  temple 
much  as  they  visit  a  shop  or  doctor,  for  definite  material 
purposes,  and  if  it  be  asked  whether  they  are  a  religious  people 
in  the  better  sense  of  the  word,  I  am  afraid  the  answer  must  be 
in  the  negative.  It  is  with  regret  that  I  express  this  opinion  and 
I  by  no  means  imply  that  there  are  not  many  deeply  religious 
persons  in  China,  but  whereas  in  India  the  obvious  manifesta 
tions  of  superstition  are  a  superficial  disease  and  the  heart  of 
the  people  is  keenly  sensitive  to  questions  of  personal  salvation 
and  speculative  theology,  this  cannot  be  said  of  the  masses  in 
China,  where  religion,  as  seen,  consists  of  superstitious  rites  and 
the  substratum  of  thought  and  feeling  is  small. 

1  The  sixth  ^Eneid  would  seem  to  a  Chinese  quite  a  natural  description  of  the 
next  world.  In  it  we  have  Elysium,  Tartarus,  transmigration  of  souls,  souls  who  can 
find  no  resting  place  because  their  bodies  are  unburied,  and  phantoms  showing  still 
the  wounds  which  their  bodies  received  in  life.  Nor  is  there  any  attempt  to  har 
monize  these  discordant  ideas. 

XLII]  CHINA  231 

This  struck  me  forcibly  when  visiting  Siam  some  years  ago. 
In  Bangkok  there  is  a  large  Chinese  population  and  several 
Buddhist  temples  have  been  made  over  to  them.  The  temples 
frequented  by  Siamese  are  not  unlike  catholic  churches  in 
Europe:  the  decoration  is  roughly  similar,  the  standard  of 
decorum  much  the  same.  The  visitors  come  to  worship,  meditate 
or  hear  sermons.  But  in  the  temples  used  by  the  Chinese,  a 
lower  standard  is  painfully  obvious  and  the  atmosphere  is 
different.  Visitors  are  there  in  plenty,  but  their  object  is  to 
"get  luck,"  and  the  business  of  religion  has  become  transformed 
into  divination  and  spiritual  gambling.  The  worshipper,  on 
entering,  goes  to  a  counter  where  he  buys  tapers  and  incense- 
sticks,  together  with  some  implements  of  superstition  such  as 
rods  or  inscribed  cards.  After  burning  incense  he  draws  a 
card  or  throws  the  rods  up  into  the  air  and  takes  an  augury  from 
the  result.  Though  the  contrast  presented  in  Siam  makes  the 
degradation  more  glaring,  yet  these  temples  in  Bangkok  are 
not  worse  than  many  which  I  have  seen  in  China.  I  gladly  set 
on  the  other  side  of  the  account  some  beautiful  and  reverent 
halls  of  worship  in  the  larger  monasteries,  but  I  fear  that  the 
ordinary  Chinese  temple,  whether  Taoist  or  Buddhist,  is  a 
ghostly  shop  where,  in  return  for  ceremonies  which  involve 
neither  moral  nor  intellectual  effort,  the  customer  is  promised 
good  luck,  offspring,  and  other  material  blessings. 

It  can  hardly  be  denied  that  the  populace  in  China  are 
grossly  superstitious.  Superstition  is  a  common  failing  and 
were  statistics  available  to  show  the  number  and  status  of 
Europeans  who  believe  in  fortune-telling  and  luck,  the  result 
might  be  startling.  But  in  most  civilized  countries  such  things 
are  furtive  and  apologetic.  In  China  the  strangest  forms  of 
magic  and  divination  enjoy  public  esteem.  The  ideas  which 
underlie  popular  practice  and  ritual  are  worthy  of  African 
savages :  there  has  been  a  monstrous  advance  in  systematization, 
yet  the  ethics  and  intellect  of  China,  brilliant  as  are  their 
achievements,  have  not  leavened  the  lump.  The  average 
Chinese,  though  an  excellent  citizen,  full  of  common  sense  and 
shrewd  in  business,  is  in  religious  matters  a  victim  of  fatuous 
superstition  and  completely  divorced  from  the  moral  and 
intellectual  standards  which  he  otherwise  employs. 

Conspicuous  among  these  superstitions  is  Feng  Shui  or 


Geomancy1,  a  pseudo  -science  which  is  treated  as  seriously  as 
law  or  surveying.  It  is  based  on  the  idea  that  localities  have  a 
sort  of  spiritual  climate  which  brings  prosperity  or  the  reverse 
and  depends  on  the  influences  of  stars  and  nature  spirits,  such 
as  the  azure  dragon  and  white  tiger.  But  since  these  agencies 
find  expression  in  the  contours  of  a  locality,  they  can  be  affected 
if  its  features  are  modified  by  artificial  means,  for  instance,  the 
construction  of  walls  and  towers.  Buddhism  did  not  disdain 
to  patronize  these  notions.  The  principal  hall  of  a  monastery  is 
usually  erected  on  a  specially  auspicious  site  and  the  appeals 
issued  for  the  repair  of  sacred  buildings  often  point  out  the 
danger  impending  if  edifices  essential  to  the  good  Feng  Shui  of 
a  district  are  allowed  to  decay.  The  scepticism  and  laughter  of 
the  educated  does  not  clear  the  air,  for  superstition  can  flourish 
when  neither  respected  nor  believed.  The  worst  feature  of 
religion  in  China  is  that  the  decently  educated  public  ridicules 
its  external  observances,  but  continues  to  practise  them, 
because  they  are  connected  with  occasions  of  good  fellowship 
or  because  their  omission  might  be  a  sign  of  disrespect  to 
departed  relatives  or  simply  because  in  dealing  with  uncanny 
things  it  is  better  to  be  on  the  safe  side.  This  is  the  sum  of 
China's  composite  religion  as  visible  in  public  and  private  rites. 
Its  ethical  value  is  far  higher  than  might  be  supposed,  for  its 
most  absurd  superstitions  also  recommend  love  and  respect  in 
family  life  and  a  high  standard  of  civic  duty.  But  China  has 
never  admitted  that  public  or  private  morality  requires  the 
support  of  a  religious  creed. 

As  might  be  expected,  life  and  animation  are  more  apparent 
in  sects  than  in  conventional  religion.  Since  the  recent  revolu 
tion  it  is  no  longer  necessary  to  confute  the  idea  that  the  Chinese 
are  a  stationary  and  unemotional  race,  but  its  inaccuracy  was 
demonstrated  by  many  previous  movements  especially  the 
T'ai-p'ing  rebellion,  which  had  at  first  a  religious  tinge.  Yet  in 
China  such  movements,  though  they  may  kindle  enthusiasm 
and  provoke  persecution,  rarely  have  the  religious  value  at- 

^  80mewnat  similar  pseudo-science  called  vatthu-vijja  is  condemned 
in  the  Pali  scriptures.  E.g.  Digha  N.  i.  21.  Astrology  also  has  been  a  great  force 
in  Chinese  politics.  See  Bland  and  Backhouse,  Ann.  and  Memoirs,  passim.  The 
favour  shown  at  different  times  to  Buddhist,  Manichsean  and  Catholic  priests  was 
often  due  to  their  supposed  knowledge  of  astrology. 

XLII]  CHINA  233 

taching  to  a  sect  in  Christian,  Hindu  and  Mohammedan 
countries.  Viewed  as  an  ecclesiastical  or  spiritual  movement, 
the  T'ai-p'ing  is  insignificant:  it  was  a  secret  society  permitted 
by  circumstances  to  become  a  formidable  rising  and  in  its 
important  phases  the  political  element  was  paramount.  The 
same  is  true  of  many  sects  which  have  not  achieved  such  no 
toriety.  They  are  secret  societies  which  adopt  a  creed,  but  it  is 
not  in  the  creed  that  their  real  vitality  lies. 

If  it  is  difficult  to  say  how  far  the  Buddhism  of  China  is  a 
religion,  it  is  equally  difficult  to  define  its  relation  to  the  State. 
Students  well  acquainted  with  the  literature  as  well  as  with  the 
actual  condition  of  China  have  expressed  diametrically  opposite 
views  as  to  the  religious  attitude  of  the  Imperial  Government1, 
one  stating  roundly  that  it  was  "the  most  intolerant,  the  most 
persecuting  of  all  earthly  Governments,"  and  another  that  it 
"at  no  period  refused  hospitality  and  consideration  to  any 
religion  recommended  as  such2." 

In  considering  such  questions  I  would  again  emphasize  the 
fact  that  Chinese  terms  have  often  not  the  same  extension  as 
their  apparent  synonyms  in  European  languages,  which,  of 
course,  means  that  the  provinces  of  human  life  and  thought  have 
also  different  boundaries.  For  most  countries  the  word  clergy 
has  a  definite  meaning  and,  in  spite  of  great  diversities,  may  be 
applied  to  Christian  clerics,  Mollahs  and  Brahmans  without 
serious  error.  It  means  a  class  of  men  who  are  the  super 
intendents  of  religion,  but  also  more.  On  the  one  side,  though 
they  may  have  serious  political  differences  with  the  Government, 
they  are  usually  in  touch  with  it:  on  the  other,  though  they 
may  dislike  reformers  and  movements  from  below,  they  patronize 
and  minister  to  popular  sentiment.  They  are  closely  connected 
with  education  and  learning  and  sometimes  with  the  law.  But 
in  China  there  is  no  class  which  unites  all  these  features. 
Learning,  law  and  education  are  represented  by  the  Confucian 
scholars  or  literati.  Though  no  one  would  think  of  calling  them 
priests,  yet  they  may  offer  official  sacrifices,  like  Roman  magis- 

1  I  may  again  remind  the  reader  that  I  am  not  speaking  of  the  Chinese  Republic 
but  of  the  Empire.  The  long  history  of  its  relations  to  Buddhism,  Taoism  and  Con 
fucianism,  though  it  concerns  the  past,  is  of  great  interest. 

2  De  Groot  and  Parker.    For  an  elaboration  of  the  first  thesis  see  especially 
De  Groot' s  Sectarianism  and  Religious  Persecution  in  China. 


trates.  Though  they  are  contemptuous  of  popular  superstition, 
yet  they  embody  the  popular  ideal.  It  is  the  pride  of  a  village 
to  produce  a  scholar.  But  the  scholarship  of  the  literati  is  purely 
Confucian :  Buddhist  and  Taoist  learning  have  no  part  in  it. 

The  priest,  whether  Buddhist  or  Taoist,  is  not  in  the  mind 
of  the  people  the  repository  of  learning  and  law.  He  is  not 
in  religious  matters  the  counterpart  of  the  secular  arm,  but 
rather  a  private  practitioner,  duly  licensed  but  of  no  particular 
standing.  But  he  is  skilful  in  his  own  profession :  he  has  access 
to  the  powers  who  help,  pity  and  console,  and  even  the  sceptic 
seeks  his  assistance  when  confronted  with  the  dangers  of  this 
world  and  the  next. 

The  student  of  Chinese  history  may  object  that  at  many 
periods,  notably  under  the  Yuan  dynasty,  the  Buddhist  clergy 
were  officially  recognized  as  an  educational  body  and  even 
received  the  title  of  Kuo-shih  or  teacher  of  the  people.  This  is 
true.  Such  recognition  by  no  means  annihilated  the  literati, 
but  it  illustrates  the  decisive  influence  exercised  by  the  Emperor 
and  the  court.  We  have,  on  the  one  side,  a  learned  official  class, 
custodians  of  the  best  national  ideals  but  inclined  to  reject 
emotion  and  speculation  as  well  as  superstition:  on  the  other, 
two  priesthoods,  prone  to  superstition  but  legitimately  strong 
in  so  far  as  they  satisfied  the  emotional  and  speculative  instincts. 
The  literati  held  persistently,  though  respectfully,  to  the  view 
that  the  Emperor  should  be  a  Confucianist  pure  and  simple,  but 
Buddhism  and  Taoism  had  such  strong  popular  support  that 
it  was  always  safe  and  often  politic  for  an  Emperor  to  patronize 
them.  Hence  an  Emperor  of  personal  convictions  was  able 
to  turn  the  balance,  and  it  must  be  added  that  Buddhism  often 
flourished  in  the  courts  of  weak  and  dissolute  Emperors  who 
were  in  the  hands  of  women  and  eunuchs.  Some  of  these  latter 
were  among  its  most  distinguished  devotees. 

All  Chinese  religions  agreed  in  accepting  the  Emperor  as 
head  of  the  Church,  not  merely  titular  but  active.  He  exercised 
a  strange  prerogative  of  creating,  promoting  and  degrading 
deities.  Even  within  the  Buddhist  sphere  he  regulated  the 
incarnations  of  Bodhisattvas  in  the  persons  of  Lamas  and  from 
time  to  time  re-edited  the  canon1  or  added  new  works  to  it.  This 

1  But  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  Chinese  canon  is  not  entirely  analogous 
to  the  collections  of  the  scriptures  current  in  India,  Ceylon  or  Europe. 

XLH]  CHINA  235 

extreme  Erastianism  had  its  roots  in  Indian  as  well  as  Chinese 
ideas.  The  Confucianist,  while  reminding  the  Emperor  that  he 
should  imitate  the  sages  and  rulers  of  antiquity,  gladly  ad 
mitted  his  right  to  control  the  worship  of  all  spirits1  and  the 
popular  conscience,  while  probably  unable  to  define  what  was 
meant  by  the  title  Son  of  Heaven2,  felt  that  it  gave  him  a  vice 
regal  right  to  keep  the  gods  in  order,  so  long  as  he  did  not 
provoke  famine  or  other  national  calamities  by  mismanagement. 
The  Buddhists,  though  tenacious  of  freedom  in  the  spiritual  life, 
had  no  objection  to  the  patronage  of  princes.  Asoka  permitted 
himself  to  regulate  the  affairs  of  the  Church  and  the  success  of 
Buddhists  as  missionaries  was  due  in  no  small  measure  to  their 
tact  in  allowing  other  sovereigns  to  follow  his  example. 

That  Buddhism  should  have  obtained  in  China  a  favourable 
reception  and  a  permanent  status  is  indeed  remarkable,  for  in 
two  ways  it  was  repugnant  to  the  sentiments  of  the  governing 
classes  to  say  nothing  of  the  differences  in  temper  and  outlook 
which  divide  Hindus  and  Chinese.  Firstly,  its  ideal  was 
asceticism  and  celibacy ;  it  gave  family  life  the  lower  place  and 
ignored  the  popular  Chinese  view  that  to  have  a  son  is  not  only 
a  duty,  but  also  essential  for  those  sacrifices  without  which  the 
departed  spirit  cannot  have  peace.  Secondly,  it  was  not  merely 
a  doctrine  but  an  ecclesiastical  organization,  a  congregation 
of  persons  who  were  neither  citizens  nor  subjects,  not  exactly 
an  imperium  in  imperio  nor  a  secret  society,  but  dangerously 
capable  of  becoming  either.  Such  bodies  have  always  incurred 
the  suspicion  and  persecution  of  the  Chinese  Government.  Even 
in  the  fifth  century  Buddhist  monasteries  were  accused  of 
organizing  armed  conspiracies  and  many  later  sects  suffered 
from  the  panic  which  they  inspired  in  official  bosoms.  But 
both  difficulties  were  overcome  by  the  suppleness  of  the  clergy. 

1  The  Emperor  is  the  Lord  of  all  spirits  and  has  the  right  to  sacrifice  to  all 
spirits,  whereas  others  should  sacrifice  only  to  such  spirits  as  concern  them.    For 
the  Emperor's  title  "Lord  of  Spirits,"  see  Shu  Ching  iv.,  vi.  2-3,  and  Shih  Ching, 
m.,  n.  8,  3. 

2  The  title  is  undoubtedly  very  ancient  and  means  Son  of  Heaven  or  Son  of 
God.   See  Hirth,  Ancient  History  of  China,  pp.  95-96.   But  the  precise  force  of  Son 
is  not  clear.  The  Emperor  was  Viceregent  of  Heaven,  high  priest  and  responsible 
for  natural  phenomena,  but  he  could  not  in  historical  times  be  regarded  as  sprung 
(like  the  Emperor  of  Japan)  from  a  family  of  divine  descent,  because  the  dynasties, 
and  with  them  the  imperial  family,  were  subject  to  frequent  change. 

Em.  16 


If  they  outraged  family  sentiment  they  managed  to  make 
themselves  indispensable  at  funeral  ceremonies1.  If  they  had 
a  dangerous  resemblance  to  an  imperium  in  imperio,  they 
minimized  it  by  their  obvious  desire  to  exercise  influence  through 
the  Emperor.  Though  it  is  true  that  the  majority  of  anti- 
dynastic  political  sects  had  a  Buddhist  colour,  the  most 
prominent  and  influential  Buddhists  never  failed  in  loyalty. 
To  this  adroitness  must  be  added  a  solid  psychological  advantage. 
The  success  of  Buddhism  in  China  was  due  to  the  fact  that  it 
presented  religious  emotion  and  speculation  in  the  best  form 
known  there,  and  when  it  began  to  spread  the  intellectual  soil 
was  not  unpropitious.  The  higher  Taoist  philosophy  had  made 
familiar  the  ideas  of  quietism  and  the  contemplative  life:  the 
age  was  unsettled,  harassed  alike  by  foreign  invasion  and  civil 
strife.  In  such  times  when  even  active  natures  tire  of  un 
successful  struggles,  the  asylum  of  a  monastery  has  attractions 
for  many. 

We  have  now  some  idea  of  the  double  position  of  Buddhism 
in  China  and  can  understand  how  it  sometimes  appears  as 
almost  the  established  church  and  sometimes  as  a  persecuted 
sect.  The  reader  will  do  well  to  remember  that  in  Europe  the 
relations  of  politics  to  religion  have  not  always  been  simple: 
many  Catholic  sovereigns  have  quarrelled  with  Popes  and  monks. 
The  French  Government  supports  the  claims  of  Catholic  missions 
in  China  but  does  not  favour  the  Church  in  France.  The  fact 
that  Huxley  was  made  a  Privy  Councillor  does  not  imply  that 
Queen  Victoria  approved  of  his  religious  views.  In  China  the 
repeated  restrictive  edicts  concerning  monasteries  should  not 
be  regarded  as  acts  of  persecution.  Every  politician  can  see  the 
loss  to  the  state  if  able-bodied  men  become  monks  by  the 
thousand.  In  periods  of  literary  and  missionary  zeal,  large 
congregations  of  such  monks  may  have  a  sufficient  sphere  of 
activity  but  in  sleepy,  decadent  periods  they  are  apt  to  become 
a  moral  or  political  danger.  A  devout  Buddhist  or  Catholic 
may  reasonably  hold  that  though  the  monastic  life  is  the  best 
for  the  elect,  yet  for  the  unworthy  it  is  more  dangerous  than 
the  temptations  of  the  world.  Thus  the  founder  of  the  Ming 
dynasty  had  himself  been  a  bonze,  yet  he  limited  the  number 

1  Similarly  it  is  a  popular  tenet  that  if  a  man  becomes  a  monk  all  his  ancestors 
go  to  Heaven.  See  Paraphrase  of  sacred  Edict,  vn. 

XLH]  CHINA  237 

and  age  of  those  who  might  become  monks1.  On  the  other  hand, 
he  attended  Buddhist  services  and  published  an  edition  of  the 
Tripitaka.  In  this  and  in  the  conduct  of  most  Emperors  there 
is  little  that  is  inconsistent  or  mysterious  :  they  regarded  religion 
not  in  our  fashion  as  a  system  deserving  either  allegiance  or 
rejection,  but  as  a  modern  Colonial  Governor  might  regard 
education.  Some  Governors  are  enthusiastic  for  education: 
others  mistrust  it  as  a  stimulus  of  disquieting  ideas:  most 
accept  it  as  worthy  of  occasional  patronage,  like  hospitals  and 
races.  In  the  same  way  some  Emperors,  like  Wu-Ti2,  were 
enthusiasts  for  Buddhism  and  made  it  practically  the  state 
religion:  a  few  others  were  definitely  hostile  either  from  con 
viction  or  political  circumstances,  but  probably  most  sovereigns 
regarded  it  as  the  average  British  official  regards  education,  as 
something  that  one  can't  help  having,  that  one  must  belaud  on 
certain  public  occasions,  that  may  now  and  then  be  useful,  but 
still  emphatically  something  to  be  kept  within  limits. 

Outbursts  against  Buddhism  are  easy  to  understand.  I  have 
pointed  out  its  un-Chinese  features  and  the  persistent  opposition 
of  the  literati.  These  were  sufficient  reasons  for  repressive 
measures  whenever  the  Emperor  was  unbuddhist  in  his  sym 
pathies,  especially  if  the  monasteries  had  enjoyed  a  period  of 
prosperity  and  become  crowded  and  wealthy.  What  is  harder 
to  understand  is  the  occasional  favour  shown  by  apparently 
anti-Buddhist  Emperors. 

The  Sacred  Edict  of  the  great  K'ang  Hsi  forbids  heterodoxy 
(i  tuan)  in  which  the  official  explanation  clearly  includes 
Buddhism3.  It  was  published  in  his  extreme  youth,  but  had 
his  mature  approval,  and  until  recently  was  read  in  every 
prefecture  twice  a  month.  But  the  same  Emperor  gave  many 
gifts  to  monasteries,  and  in  1705  he  issued  a  decree  to  the 
monks  of  P'uto  in  which  he  said,  "we  since  our  boyhood  have 
been  earnest  students  of  Confucian  lore  and  have  had  no  time 
to  become  minutely  acquainted  with  the  sacred  books  of 
Buddhism,  but  we  are  satisfied  that  Virtue  is  the  one  word 

1  Japanese  Emperors  did  the  same,  e.g.  Kwammu  Tenno  in  793. 

3  K'ang  Hsi  is  responsible  only  for  the  text  of  the  Edict  which  merely  forbids 
heterodoxy.  But  his  son  Yung  Cheng  who  published  the  explanation  and  paraphrase 
repaired  the  Buddhist  temples  at  P'uto  and  the  Taoist  temple  at  Lung-hu-shan. 


which  indicates  what  is  essential  in  both  systems.  Let  us  pray 
to  the  compassionate  Kuan-yin  that  she  may  of  her  grace  send 
down  upon  our  people  the  spiritual  rain  and  sweet  dew  of  the 
good  Law:  that  she  may  grant  them  bounteous  harvests, 
seasonable  winds  and  the  blessings  of  peace,  harmony  and  long 
life  and  finally  that  she  may  lead  them  to  the  salvation  which 
she  offers  to  all  beings  in  the  Universe1."  The  two  edicts  are 
not  consistent  but  such  inconsistency  is  no  reproach  to  a  states 
man  nor  wholly  illogical.  The  Emperor  reprimands  extrava 
gance  in  doctrine  and  ceremonial  and  commends  Confucianism 
to  his  subjects  as  all  that  is  necessary  for  good  life  and  good 
government,  but  when  he  finds  that  Buddhism  conduces  to  the 
same  end  he  accords  his  patronage  and  politely  admits  the 
existence  and  power  of  Kuan-yin. 

But  I  must  pass  on  to  another  question,  the  relation  of 
Chinese  to  Indian  Buddhism.  Chinese  Buddhism  is  often  spoken 
of  as  a  strange  and  corrupt  degeneration,  a  commixture  of 
Indian  and  foreign  ideas.  Now  if  such  phrases  mean  that  the 
pulse  of  life  is  feeble  and  the  old  lights  dim,  we  must  regretfully 
admit  their  truth,  but  still  little  is  to  be  found  in  Chinese 
Buddhism  except  the  successive  phases  of  later  Indian 
Buddhism,  introduced  into  China  from  the  first  century  A.D. 
onwards.  In  Japan  there  arose  new  sects,  but  in  China,  when 
importation  ceased,  no  period  of  invention  supervened.  The 
T'ien-t'ai  school  has  some  originality,  and  native  and  foreign 
ideas  were  combined  by  the  followers  of  Bodhidharma.  But 
the  remaining  schools  were  all  founded  by  members  of  Indian 
sects  or  by  Chinese  who  aimed  at  scrupulous  imitation  of  Indian 
models.  Until  the  eighth  century,  when  the  formative  period 
came  to  an  end,  we  have  an  alternation  of  Indian  or  Central 
Asian  teachers  arriving  in  China  to  meet  with  respect  and 
acceptance,  and  of  Chinese  enquirers  who  visited  India  in  order 
to  discover  the  true  doctrine  and  practice  and  were  honoured 
on  their  return  in  proportion  as  they  were  believed  to  have 
found  it.  There  is  this  distinction  between  China  and  such 
countries  as  Java,  Camboja  and  Champa,  that  whereas  in 

1  See  Johnston,  p.  352.  I  have  not  seen  the  Chinese  text  of  this  edict.  In  Laufer 
and  Francke's  EpigraphiscTie  Denkmdler  aus  China  is  a  long  inscription  of  Kang  Hsi's 
giving  the  history  both  legendary  and  recent  of  the  celebrated  sandal-wood  image 
of  the  Buddha. 

XLII]  CHINA  239 

them  we  find  a  mixture  of  Hinduism  and  Buddhism,  in  China 
the  traces  of  Hinduism  are  slight.  The  imported  ideas,  however 
corrupt,  were  those  of  Indian  Buddhist  scholars,  not  the  mixed 
ideas  of  the  Indian  layman1. 

Of  course  Buddhist  theory  and  practice  felt  the  influence  of 
their  new  surroundings.  The  ornaments  and  embroidery  of  the 
faith  are  Chinese  and  sometimes  hide  the  original  material. 
Thus  Kuan-yin,  considered  historically,  has  grown  out  of  the 
Indian  deity  Avalokita,  but  the  goddess  worshipped  by  the 
populace  is  the  heroine  of  the  Chinese  romance  mentioned 
above.  And,  since  many  Chinese  are  only  half  Buddhists,  tales 
about  gods  and  saints  are  taken  only  half -seriously ;  the 
Buddha  periodically  invites  the  immortals  to  dine  with  him  in 
Heaven  and  the  Eighteen  Lohan  are  described  as  converted 

In  every  monastery  the  buildings,  images  and  monks 
obviously  bear  the  stamp  of  the  country.  Yet  nearly  all  the 
doctrines  and  most  of  the  usages  have  Indian  parallels.  The 
ritual  has  its  counterpart  in  what  I-Ching  describes  as  seen  by 
himself  in  his  Indian  travels.  China  has  added  the  idea  of 
feng-shui,  and  has  modified  architectural  forms.  For  instance 
the  many-storeyed  pagoda  is  an  elongation  of  the  stupa2.  So, 
too,  in  ceremonial,  the  great  prominence  given  to  funeral  rites 
and  many  superstitious  details  are  Chinese,  yet,  as  I  have  often 
mentioned  in  this  work,  rites  on  behalf  of  the  dead  were  tolerated 
by  early  Buddhism.  The  curious  mingling  of  religious  services 
with  theatrical  pagents  which  Hsiian  Chuang  witnessed  at 
Allahabad  in  the  reign  of  Harsha,  has  its  modest  parallel  to-day 
in  many  popular  festivals. 

The  numerous  images  which  crowd  a  Chinese  temple,  the 

1  This  indicates  that  the  fusion  of  Buddhism  and  Hinduism  was  less  complete 
than  some  scholars  suppose.  Where  there  was  a  general  immigration  of  Hindus,  the 
mixture  is  found,  but  the  Indian  visitors  to  China  were  mostly  professional  teachers 
and  their  teaching  was  definitely  Buddhist.  There  are,  however,  two  non-Buddhist 
books  in  the  Chinese  Tripitaka.   Nanjio  Cat.  Nos.  1295  and  1300. 

2  It  has  been  pointed  out  by  Fergusson  and  others  that  there  were  high  towers 
in  China  before  the  Buddhist  period.    Still,  the  numerous  specimens  extant  date 
from  Buddhist  times,  many  were  built  over  relics,  and  the  accounts  of  both  Fa-hsien 
and  Hsuan  Chuang  show  that  the  Stupa  built  by  Kanishka  at  Peshawar  had 
attracted  the  attention  of  the  Chinese. 

I  regret  that  de  Groot's  interesting  work  Der  Thupa:  das  heiligste  Heiligtum  des 
Buddhismus  in  China,  1919,  reached  me  too  late  for  me  to  make  use  of  it. 


four  kings,  Arhats  and  Bodhisattvas,  though  of  unfamiliar 
appearance  to  the  Indian  student,  are  Indian  in  origin.  A  few 
Taoist  deities  may  have  side  chapels,  but  they  are  not  among 
the  principal  objects  of  worship.  The  greater  part  of  the  Chinese 
Tripitaka  is  a  translation  from  the  Sanskrit  and  the  Chinese 
works  (only  194  against  1467  translations)  are  chiefly  exegetical. 
Thus,  though  Chinese  bonzes  countenance  native  superstitions 
and  gladly  undertake  to  deal  with  all  the  gods  and  devils  of 
the  land,  yet  in  its  doctrine,  literature,  and  even  in  many 
externals  their  Buddhism  remains  an  Indian  importation.  If  we 
seek  in  it  for  anything  truly  Chinese,  it  is  to  be  found  not  in  the 
constituents,  but  in  the  atmosphere,  which,  like  a  breeze  from 
a  mountain  monastery  sometimes  freshens  the  gilded  shrines 
and  libraries  of  verbose  sutras.  It  is  the  native  spirit  of  the 
Far  East  which  finds  expression  in  the  hill-side  hermit's  sense 
of  freedom  and  in  dark  sayings  such  as  Buddhism  is  the  oak-tree 
in  my  garden.  Every  free  and  pure  heart  can  become  a  Buddha, 
but  also  is  one  with  the  life  of  birds  and  flowers.  Both  the  love 
of  nature1  and  the  belief  that  men  can  become  divine  can  easily 
be  paralleled  in  Indian  texts,  but  they  were  not,  I  think,  im 
ported  into  China,  and  joy  in  natural  beauty  and  sympathy  with 
wild  life  are  much  more  prominent  in  Chinese  than  in  Indian  art. 
Is  then  Buddhist  doctrine,  as  opposed  to  the  superstitions 
tolerated  by  Buddhism,  something  exotic  and  without  influence 
on  the  national  life?  That  also  is  not  true.  The  reader  will 
perceive  from  what  has  gone  before  that  if  he  asks  for  statistics 
of  Buddhism  in  China,  the  answer  must  be,  in  the  Buddha's 
own  phrase,  that  the  question  is  not  properly  put.  It  is  incorrect 
to  describe  China  as  a  Buddhist  country.  We  may  say  that  it 
contains  so  many  million  Mohammedans  or  Christians,  because 
these  creeds  are  definite  and  exclusive.  We  cannot  quote  similar 
figures  for  Buddhism  or  Confucianism.  Yet  assuredly  Buddhism 
has  been  a  great  power  in  China,  as  great  perhaps  as  Christianity 
in  Europe,  if  we  remember  how  much  is  owed  by  European  art, 
literature,  law  and  science  to  non-Christian  sources.  The  Chinese 
language  is  full  of  Buddhist  phraseology2,  not  only  in  literature 

1  The  love  of  nature  shown  in  the  Pali  Pitakas  (particularly  the  Thera  and  Theri 
Gatha)  has  often  been  noticed,  but  it  is  also  strong  in  Mahayanist  literature.   E.g. 
Bodhicaryavatara  vm.  26-39  and  86-88. 

2  See  especially  Watters,  Essays  on  the  Chinese  Language,  chaps,  vm  and  ix, 
and  dementi,  Cantonese  Love  Songs  in  English,  pp.  9  to  12 

XLH]  CHINA  241 

but  in  popular  songs  and  proverbs  and  an  inspection  of  such 
entries  in  a  Chinese  dictionary  as  Fo  (Buddha),  Kuan  Yin, 
Ho  Shang  (monk)1  will  show  how  large  and  not  altogether 
flattering  a  part  they  play  in  popular  speech. 

Popular  literature  bears  the  same  testimony.  It  is  true  that 
in  what  are  esteemed  the  higher  walks  of  letters  Buddhism  has 
little  place.  The  quotations  and  allusions  which  play  there  so 
prominent  a  part  are  taken  from  the  classics  and  Confucianism 
can  claim  as  its  own  the  historical,  lexicographical  and  critical2 
works  which  are  the  solid  and  somewhat  heavy  glory  of  Chinese 
literature.  But  its  lighter  and  less  cultivated  blossoms,  such 
as  novels,  fairy  stories  and  poetry,  are  predominantly  Buddhist 
or  Taoist  in  inspiration.  This  may  be  easily  verified  by  a  perusal 
of  such  works  as  the  Dream  of  the  Red  Chamber,  Strange  Stories 
from  a  Chinese  Studio,  and  Wieger's  Folk  Lore  Chinois  Moderne. 
The  same  is  true  in  general  of  the  great  Chinese  poets,  many  of 
whom  did  not  conceal  that  (in  a  poetic  and  unascetic  fashion) 
they  were  attached  to  Buddhism. 

It  may  be  asked  if  the  inspiration  is  not  Taoist  in  the  main 
rather  than  Buddhist.  Side  by  side  with  ethics  and  ceremony, 
a  native  stream  of  bold  and  weird  imagination  has  never  ceased 
to  flow  in  China  and  there  was  no  need  to  import  tales  of  the 
Genii,  immortal  saints  and  vampire  beauties.  But  when  any 
coherency  unites  these  ideas  of  the  supernatural,  that  I  think 
is  the  work  of  Buddhism  and  so  far  as  Taoism  itself  has  any 
coherency  it  is  an  imitation  of  Buddhism.  Thus  the  idea  of 
metempsychosis  as  one  of  many  passing  fancies  may  be  in 
digenous  to  China  but  its  prevalence  in  popular  thought  and 
language  is  undoubtedly  due  to  Buddhism,  for  Taoism  and 
Confucianism  have  nothing  definite  to  say  as  to  the  state  of 
the  dead. 

Much  the  same  story  of  Buddhist  influence  is  told  by  Chinese 
art,  especially  painting  and  sculpture.  Here  too  Taoism  is  by 
no  means  excluded :  it  may  be  said  to  represent  the  artistic  side 

1  0U,  ffiih  sfafft. 

2  I  cannot  refrain  from  calling  attention  to  the  difference  between  the  Chinese 
and  most  other  Asiatic  peoples  (especially  the  Hindus)  as  exhibited  in  their  litera 
ture.  Quite  apart  from  European  influence  the  Chinese  produced  several  centuries 
ago  catalogues  of  museums  and  descriptive  lists  of  inscriptions,  worke  which  have 
no  parallel  in  Hindu  India. 


of  the  Chinese  mind,  as  Confucianism  represents  the  political. 
But  it  is  impossible  to  mistake  the  significance  of  chronology. 
As  soon  as  Buddhism  was  well  established  in  China,  art  entered 
on  a  new  phase  which  culminated  in  the  masterpieces  of  the 
T'ang  and  Sung1.  Buddhism  did  not  introduce  painting  into 
China  or  even  perfect  a  rudimentary  art.  The  celebrated  roll 
of  Ku  K'ai-chih2  shows  no  trace  of  Indian  influence  and  pre 
supposes  a  long  artistic  tradition.  But  Mahayanist  Buddhism 
brought  across  Central  Asia  new  shapes  and  motives.  Some  of 
its  imports  were  of  doubtful  artistic  value,  such  as  figures  with 
many  limbs  and  eyes,  but  with  them  came  ideas  which  en 
riched  Chinese  art  with  new  dramatic  power,  passion  and 
solemnity.  Taoism  dealt  with  other  worlds  but  they  were 
gardens  of  the  Hesperides,  inhabited  by  immortal  wizards  and 
fairy  queens,  not  those  disquieting  regions  where  the  soul 
receives  the  reward  of  its  deeds.  But  now  the  art  of  Central 
Asia  showed  Chinese  painters  something  new ;  saints  preaching 
the  law  with  a  gesture  of  authority  and  deities  of  infinite 
compassion  inviting  suppliants  to  approach  their  thrones.  And 
with  them  came  the  dramatic  story  of  Gotama's  life  and  all 
the  legends  of  the  Jatakas. 

This  clearly  is  not  Taoism,  but  when  the  era  of  great  art 
and  literature  begins,  any  distinction  between  the  two  creeds, 
except  for  theological  purposes,  becomes  artificial,  for  Taoism 
borrowed  many  externals  of  Buddhism,  and  Buddhism,  while 
not  abandoning  its  austere  and  emaciated  saints,  also  accepted 
the  Taoist  ideal  of  the  careless  wandering  hermit,  friend  of 
mountain  pines  and  deer.  Wei  Hsieh3  who  lived  under  the 
Chin  dynasty,  when  the  strength  of  Buddhism  was  beginning 
to  be  felt,  is  considered  by  Chinese  critics  as  the  earliest  of  the 
great  painters  and  is  said  to  have  excelled  in  both  Buddhist  and 
Taoist  subjects.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the  most  eminent 
names,  such  as  Ku  K'ai-chih  and  Wu  Tao-tzu4,  and  we  may  also 
remember  that  Italian  artists  painted  the  birth  of  Venus  and 
the  origin  of  the  milky  way  as  well  as  Annunciations  and 

1  There  are  said  to  have  been  four  great  schools  of  Buddhist  painting  under  the 
T'ang.  See  Kokka  294  and  295. 

2  Preserved  in  the  British  Museum  and  published. 

of  the  -ET"  dynasty. 

XLII]  CHINA  243 

Assumptions,  without  any  hint  that  one  incident  was  less  true 
than  another.  Buddhism  not  only  provided  subjects  like  the 
death  of  the  Buddha  and  Kuan  Yin,  the  Goddess  of  Mercy,  which 
hold  in  Chinese  art  the  same  place  as  the  Crucifixion  and  the 
Madonna  in  Europe,  and  generation  after  generation  have 
stimulated  the  noblest  efforts  of  the  best  painters.  It  also 
offered  a  creed  and  ideals  suited  to  the  artistic  temperament: 
peace  and  beauty  reigned  in  its  monasteries:  its  doctrine  that 
life  is  one  and  continuous  is  reflected  in  that  love  of  nature,  that 
sympathetic  understanding  of  plants  and  animals,  that  intimate 
union  of  sentiment  with  landscape  which  marks  the  best 
Chinese  pictures. 

CHINA  (continued) 


THE  traditional  date  for  the  introduction  of  Buddhism  is  62  A.D., 
when  the  chronicles  tell  how  the  Emperor  Ming-Ti  of  the  Later 
Han  Dynasty  dreamt  that  he  saw  a  golden  man  fly  into  his 
palace1  and  how  his  courtiers  suggested  that  the  figure  was 
Fo-t'o2  or  Buddha,  an  Indian  God.  Ming-Ti  did  not  let  the 
matter  drop  and  in  65  sent  an  embassy  to  a  destination  variously 
described  as  the  kingdom  of  the  Ta  Yiieh  Chih3  or  India  with 
Instructions  to  bring  back  Buddhist  scriptures  and  priests.  On 
its  return  it  was  accompanied  by  a  monk  called  Kasyapa 
Matanga4,  a  native  of  Central  India.  A  second  called  Chu 
Fa-Lan5,  who  came  from  Central  Asia  and  found  some  difficulty 
in  obtaining  permission  to  leave  his  country,  followed  shortly 
afterwards.  Both  were  installed  at  Loyang,  the  capital  of  the 
dynasty,  in  the  White  Horse  Monastery6,  so  called  because  the 
foreign  monks  rode  on  white  horses  or  used  them  for  carrying 

The  story  has  been  criticized  as  an  obvious  legend,  but  I 
see  no  reason  why  it  should  not  be  true  to  this  extent  that 
Ming-Ti  sent  an  embassy  to  Central  Asia  (not  India  in  our 
sense)  with  the  result  that  a  monastery  was  for  the  first  time 
established  under  imperial  patronage.  The  gravest  objection  is 
that  before  the  campaigns  of  Pan  Ch'ao7,  which  began  about 
73  A.D.,  Central  Asia  was  in  rebellion  against  China.  But  those 

1  See  B.E.F.E.O.  1910,  Le  Songe  et  I'Ambassade  de  1'Empereur  Ming  Ti,  par 
M.  H.  Maspero,  where  the  original  texts  are  translated  and  criticized.  It  is  a  curious 
coincidenoe  that  Ptolemy  Soter  is  said  to  have  introduced  the  worship  of  Serapis 
to  Egypt  from  Sinope  in  consequence  of  a  dream. 

No  doubt  then  pronounced  something  like  Vut-tha. 

CH.  XLIH]  CHINA  245 

campaigns  show  that  the  Chinese  Court  was  occupied  with 
Central  Asian  questions  and  to  send  envoys  to  enquire  about 
religion  may  have  been  politically  advantageous,  for  they  could 
obtain  information  without  asserting  or  abandoning  China's 
claims  to  sovereignty.  The  story  does  not  state  that  there  was 
no  Buddhism  in  China  before  62  A.D.  On  the  contrary  it 
implies  that  though  it  was  not  sufficiently  conspicuous  to  be 
known  to  the  Emperor,  yet  there  was  no  difficulty  in  obtaining 
information  about  it  and  other  facts  support  the  idea  that  it 
began  to  enter  China  at  least  half  a  century  earlier.  The  negotia 
tions  of  Chang  Ch'ien1  with  the  Yiieh  Chih  (129-119  B.C.)  and 
the  documents  discovered  by  Stein  in  the  ancient  military  posts 
on  the  western  frontier  of  Kansu2  prove  that  China  had  com 
munication  with  Central  Asia,  but  neither  the  accounts  of 
Chang  Ch'ien's  journeys  nor  the  documents  contain  any  allusion 
to  Buddhism.  In  121  B.C.  the  Annals  relate  that  "a  golden 
man"  was  captured  from  the  Hsiung-nu  but,  even  if  it  was  an 
image  of  Buddha,  the  incident  had  no  consequences.  More 
important  is  a  notice  in  the  Wei-liieh  which  gives  a  brief  account 
of  the  Buddha's  birth  and  states  that  in  the  year  2  B.C.  an 
ambassador  sent  by  the  Emperor  Ai  to  the  court  of  the  Yiieh 
Chih  was  instructed  in  Buddhism  by  order  of  their  king3.  Also 
the  Later  Han  Annals  intimate  that  in  65  A.D.  the  Prince  of 
Ch'u4  was  a  Buddhist  and  that  there  were  Sramanas  and 
Upasakas  in  his  territory. 

The  author  of  the  Wei-liieh  comments  on  the  resemblance 
of  Buddhist  writings  to  the  work  of  Lao-tzu,  and  suggests  that 
the  latter  left  China  in  order  to  teach  in  India.  This  theory  found 
many  advocates  among  the  Taoists,  but  is  not  likely  to  commend 
itself  to  European  scholars.  Less  improbable  is  a  view  held  by 

2  See  Chavannes,  Les  documents  Chinois  decouverts  par  Aurel  Stein,  1913,  Intro 
duction.  The  earliest  documents  are  of  98  B.C. 

3  The  Wei-liieh  or  Wei-lio  f$|:Jgr?  composed  between  239  and  265  A.D.,  no 
longer  exists  as  a  complete  work,  but  a  considerable  extract  from  it  dealing  with  the 
countries  of  the  West  is  incorporated  in  the  San  Kuo  Chih   -  -  BeJAiN  of  P'ei- 
Sung-Chih  §jj|>|^^  (429  A.D.).  See  Chavannes,  translation  and  notes  in  T'oung 
Poo,  1905,  pp.  619-571. 

4  4S  .   See  Chavannes,  Lc.  p.  550. 


many  Chinese  critics1  and  apparently  first  mentioned  in  the 
Sui  annals,  namely,  that  Buddhism  was  introduced  into  China 
at  an  early  date  but  was  exterminated  by  the  Emperor  Shih 
Huang  Ti  (221-206)  in  the  course  of  his  crusade  against  litera 
ture.  But  this  view  is  not  supported  by  any  details  and  is  open 
to  the  general  objection  that  intercourse  between  China  and 
India  vid  Central  Asia  before  200  B.C.  is  not  only  unproved  but 

Still  the  mystical,  quietist  philosophy  of  Lao-tzu  and  Chuang- 
tzu  has  an  undoubted  resemblance  to  Indian  thought.  No  one 
who  is  familiar  with  the  Upanishads  can  read  the  Tao-Te-Ching 
without  feeling  that  if  Brahman  is  substituted  for  Tao  the  whole 
would  be  intelligible  to  a  Hindu.  Its  doctrine  is  not  specifically 
Buddhist,  yet  it  contains  passages  which  sound  like  echoes  of 
the  Pitakas.  Compare  Tao-Te-Ching,  33. 1,  "He  who  overcomes 
others  is  strong:  he  who  overcomes  himself  is  mighty,"  with 
Dhammapada,  103,  "If  one  man  overcome  a  thousand  thousand 
in  battle  and  another  overcome  himself,  this  last  is  the  greatest 
of  conquerors";  and  46.  2,  "There  is  no  greater  sin  that  to  look 
on  what  moves  desire :  there  is  no  greater  evil  than  discontent : 
there  is  no  greater  disaster  than  covetousness,"  with  Dham 
mapada,  251,  "There  is  no  fire  like  desire,  there  is  no  monster 
like  hatred,  there  is  no  snare  like  folly,  there  is  no  torrent  like 
covetousness."  And  if  it  be  objected  that  these  are  the  coin 
cidences  of  obvious  ethics,  I  would  call  attention  to  39.  1, 
"Hence  if  we  enumerate  separately  each  part  that  goes  to 
form  a  cart,  we  have  no  cart  at  all."  Here  .the  thought  and  its 
illustration  cannot  be  called  obvious  and  the  resemblance  to 
well-known  passages  in  the  Samyutta  Nikaya  and  Questions 
of  Milinda2  is  striking. 

Any  discussion  of  the  indebtedness  of  the  Tao-Te-Chirig  to 
India  is  too  complicated  for  insertion  here  since  it  involves  the 

1  See  Francke,  Zur  Frage  der  Einfiihrung  des  Buddhismus  in  China,  1910,  and 
Maspero'  s  re  vie  w  in  B.  E.  F.  E.  0. 1 9 1 0,  p.  629.  Another  Taoist  legend  is  that  Dipankara 
Buddha  or  Jan  Teng,  described  as  the  teacher  of  Sakyamuni  was  a  Taoist  and  that 
6akyamuni  visited  him  in  China.  Giles  quotes  extracts  from  a  writer  of  the  eleventh 
century  called  Shen  Kua  to  the  effect  that  Buddhism  had  been  flourishing  before 
the  Ch'in  dynasty  but  disappeared  with  its  advent  and  also  that  eighteen  priests 
were  imprisoned  in  216  B.C.   But  the  story  adds  that  they  recited  the  Prajnapara- 
mita  which  is  hardly  possible  at  that  epoch. 

2  Sam.  Nik.  v.  10.  6.  Cf.  for  a  similar  illustration  in  Chuang-tzu,  S.B.E.  XL.  p.  120. 

XLHI]  CHINA  247 

question  of  its  date  or  the  date  of  particular  passages,  if  we 
reject  the  hypothesis  that  the  work  as  we  have  it  was  composed 
by  Lao-tzu  in  the  sixth  century  B.C.1  But  there  is  less  reason 
to  doubt  the  genuineness  of  the  essays  of  Chuang-tzu  who  lived 
in  the  fourth  century  B.C.  In  them  we  find  mention  of  trances 
which  give  superhuman  wisdom  and  lead  to  union  with  the 
all-pervading  spirit,  and  of  magical  powers  enjoyed  by  sages, 
similar  to  the  Indian  iddhi.  He  approves  the  practice  of 
abandoning  the  world  and  enunciates  the  doctrines  of  evolution 
and  reincarnation.  He  knows,  as  does  also  the  Tao-Te-Ching, 
methods  of  regulating  the  breathing  which  are  conducive  to 
mental  culture  and  long  life.  He  speaks  of  the  six  faculties  of 
perception,  which  recall  the  Shadayatana,  and  of  name  and 
real  existence  (namarupam)  as  being  the  conditions  of  a  thing2. 
He  has  also  a  remarkable  comparison  of  death  to  the  extinction 
of  a  fire:  "what  we  can  point  to  are  the  faggots  that  have  been 
consumed :  but  the  fire  is  transmitted  and  we  know  not  that  it 
is  over  and  ended."  Several  Buddhist  parallels  to  this  might 
be  cited3. 

The  list  of  such  resemblances  might  be  made  longer  and  the 
explanation  that  Indian  ideas  reached  China  sporadically,  at 
least  as  early  as  the  fourth  century  B.C.,  seems  natural.  I  should 
accept  it,  if  there  were  any  historical  evidence  besides  these 
literary  parallels.  But  there  seems  to  be  none  and  it  may  be 
justly  urged  that  the  roots  of  this  quietism  lie  so  deep  in  the 
Chinese  character,  that  the  plant  cannot  have  sprung  from  some 
chance  wind-wafted  seed.  That  character  has  two  sides,  one 
seen  in  the  Chinese  Empire  and  the  classical  philosophy, 
excellent  as  ethics  but  somewhat  stiff  and  formal:  the  other  in 
revolutions  and  rebellions,  in  the  free  life  of  hermits  and 
wanderers,  in  poetry  and  painting.  This  second  side  is  very  like 
the  temper  of  Indian  Buddhism  and  easily  amalgamated  with 
it4,  but  it  has  a  special  note  of  its  own. 

1  I  may  say,  however,  that  I  think  it  is  a  compilation  containing  very  ancient 
sayings  amplified  by  later  material  which  shows  Buddhist  influence.  This  may  be 
true  to  some  extent  of  the  Essays  of  Chuang-tzu  as  well. 

2  See  Legge's  translation  in  S.B.E.  Part  I.  pp.  176,  257,  n.  46,  62;  ib.  i.  pp.  171, 
192,  n.  13;  ib.  n.  p.  13;  ib.  n.  p.  9,  I.  p.  249;  ib.  pp.  45,  95,  100,  364,  n.  p.  139; 
ib.  n.  p.  139;  ib.  n.  p.  129. 

3  76.  i.  p.  202;  cf.  the  Buddha's  conversation  with  Vaccha  in  Maj.  Nik.  72. 

4  Kumarajiva  and  other  Buddhists  actually  wrote  commentaries  on  the  Tao- 


The  curiosity  of  Ming-Ti  did  not  lead  to  any  immediate 
triumph  of  Buddhism.  We  read  that  he  was  zealous  in  honouring 
Confucius  but  not  that  he  showed  devotion  to  the  new  faith. 
Indeed  it  is  possible  that  his  interest  was  political  rather  than 
religious.  Buddhism  was  also  discredited  by  its  first  convert, 
the  Emperor's  brother  Chu-Ying,  who  rebelled  unsuccessfully 
and  committed  suicide.  Still  it  nourished  in  a  quiet  way  and 
the  two  foreign  monks  in  the  White  Horse  Monastery  began  that 
long  series  of  translations  which  assumed  gigantic  proportions 
in  the  following  centuries.  To  Kasyapa  is  ascribed  a  collection 
of  extracts  known  as  the  Sutra  of  forty-two  sections  which  is 
still  popular1.  This  little  work  adheres  closely  to  the  teaching 
of  the  Pali  Tripitaka  and  shows  hardly  any  traces  of  the  Ma- 
hayana.  According  to  the  Chinese  annals  the  chief  doctrines 
preached  by  the  first  Buddhist  missionaries  were  the  sanctity 
of  all  animal  life,  metempsychosis,  meditation,  asceticism  and 

It  is  not  until  the  third  century2  that  we  hear  much  of 
Buddhism  as  a  force  at  Court  or  among  the  people,  but  mean 
while  the  task  of  translation  progressed  at  Lo-yang.  The  Chinese 
are  a  literary  race  and  these  quiet  labours  prepared  the  soil  for 
the  subsequent  efflorescence.  Twelve3  translators  are  named  as 
having  worked  before  the  downfall  of  the  Han  Dynasty  and 
about  350  books  are  attributed  to  them.  None  of  them  were 
Chinese.  About  half  came  from  India  and  the  rest  from  Central 
Asia,  the  most  celebrated  of  the  latter  being  An  Shih-kao,  a 
prince  of  An-hsi  or  Parthia4.  The  Later  Han  Dynasty  was 

1  V--t  ~\     ZHJii7R^j£ .    It  speaks,  however,  in  section  36  of  being  born  in  the 
condition  or  family  of  a  Bodhisattva  (P'u-sa-chia),  where  the  word  seems  to  be  used 
in  the  late  sense  of  a  devout  member  of  the  Buddhist  Church. 

2  But  the  Emperor  Huan  is  said  to  have  sacrificed  to  Buddha  and  Lao-tzu.  See 
Hou  Han  Shu  in  T'oung  Poo,  1907,  p.  194.    For  early  Buddhism  see  "Communautes 
et  Moines  Bouddhistes  Chinois  au  II  et  au  III  siecles,"  by  Maspero  in  B.E.F.E.O. 

1910,  p.  222.  In  the  second  century  lived  Mou-tzu  j&-^p*  a  Buddhist  author  with 

a  strong  spice  of  Taoism.  His  work  is  a  collection  of  questions  and  answers,  some 
what  resembling  the  Questions  of  Milinda.  See  translation  by  Pelliot  (in  T'oung 
Poo,  vol.  Xix.  1920)  who  gives  the  date  provisionally  as  195  A.D. 

3  Accounts  of  these  and  the  later  translators  are  found  in  the  thirteen  catalogues 
of  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  (see  Nanjio,  p.  xxvii)  and  other  works  such  as  the  Kao 
Sang-Chuan  (Nanjio,  No.  1490). 

He  worked  at  translations  in  Loyang  148-170. 

xun]  CHINA  249 

followed  by  the  animated  and  romantic  epoch  known  as  the 
Three  Kingdoms  (221-265)  when  China  was  divided  between 
the  States  of  Wei,  Wu  and  Shu.  Loyang  became  the  capital 
of  Wei  and  the  activity  of  the  White  Horse  Monastery  con 
tinued.  We  have  the  names  of  five  translators  who  worked 
there.  One  of  them  was  the  first  to  translate  the  Patimokkha1, 
which  argues  that  previously  few  followed  the  monastic  life. 
At  Nanking,  the  capital  of  Wu,  we  also  hear  of  five  translators 
and  one  was  tutor  of  the  Crown  Prince.  This  implies  that 
Buddhism  was  spreading  in  the  south  and  that  monks  inspired 
confidence  at  Court. 

The  Three  Kingdoms  gave  place  to  the  Dynasty  known  as 
Western  Tsin2  which,  for  a  short  time  (A.D.  265-316),  claimed 
to  unite  the  Empire,  and  we  now  reach  the  period  when  Buddhism 
begins  to  become  prominent.  It  is  also  a  period  of  political 
confusion,  of  contest  between  the  north  and  south,  of  struggles 
between  Chinese  and  Tartars.  Chinese  histories,  with  their 
long  lists  of  legitimate  sovereigns,  exaggerate  the  solidity  and 
continuity  of  the  Empire,  for  the  territory  ruled  by  those 
sovereigns  was  often  but  a  small  fraction  of  what  we  call  China. 
Yet  the  Tartar  states  were  not  an  alien  and  destructive  force 
to  the  same  extent  as  the  conquests  made  by  Mohammedan 
Turks  at  the  expense  of  Byzantium.  The  Tartars  were  neither 
fanatical,  nor  prejudiced  against  Chinese  ideals  in  politics  and 
religion.  On  the  contrary,  they  respected  the  language,  litera 
ture  and  institutions  of  the  Empire:  they  assumed  Chinese 
names  and  sometimes  based  their  claim  to  the  Imperial  title 
on  the  marriage  of  their  ancestors  with  Chinese  princesses. 

During  the  fourth  century  and  the  first  half  of  the  fifth 
some  twenty  ephemeral  states,  governed  by  Tartar  chieftains 
and  perpetually  involved  in  mutual  war,  rose  and  fell  in  northern 
China.  The  most  permanent  of  them  was  Northern  Wei  which 
lasted  till  535  A.D.  But  the  Later  Chao  and  both  the  Earlier  and 
Later  Ts'in  are  important  for  our  purpose3.  Some  writers  make 
it  a  reproach  to  Buddhism  that  its  progress,  which  had  been 

1  Dharmakala,  see  Nanjio,  p.  386.  The  Vinaya  used  in  these  early  days  of 
Chinese  Buddhism  was  apparently  that  of  the  Dharmagupta  school.  See  J.A.  1916, 
ii.  p.  40.  An  Shih-kao  (c.  A.D.  150)  translated  a  work  called  The  3000  Rules  for  Monks 
(Nanjio,  1126),  but  it  is  not  clear  what  was  the  Sanskrit  original. 


slow  among  the  civilized  Chinese,  became  rapid  in  the  provinces 
which  passed  into  the  hands  of  these  ruder  tribes.  But  the 
phenomenon  is  natural  and  is  illustrated  by  the  fact  that  even 
now  the  advance  of  Christianity  is  more  rapid  in  Africa  than 
in  India.  The  civilization  of  China  was  already  old  and  self- 
complacent:  not  devoid  of  intellectual  curiosity  and  not  in 
tolerant,  but  sceptical  of  foreign  importations  and  of  dealings 
with  the  next  world.  But  the  Tartars  had  little  of  their  own 
in  the  way  of  literature  and  institutions:  it  was  their  custom 
to  assimilate  the  arts  and  ideas  of  the  civilized  nations  whom 
they  conquered  :  the  more  western  tribes  had  already  made  the 
acquaintance  of  Buddhism  in  Central  Asia  and  such  native 
notions  of  religion  as  they  possessed  disposed  them  to  treat 
priests,  monks  and  magicians  with  respect. 

Of  the  states  mentioned,  the  Later  Chao  was  founded  by 
Shih-Lo1  (273-332),  whose  territories  extended  from  the  Great 
Wall  to  the  Han  and  Huai  in  the  South.  He  showed  favour  to 
an  Indian  monk  and  diviner  called  Fo-t'u-ch'eng2  who  lived 
at  his  court  and  he  appears  to  have  been  himself  a  Buddhist. 
At  any  rate  the  most  eminent  of  his  successors,  Shih  Chi-lung3, 
was  an  ardent  devotee  and  gave  general  permission  to  the 
population  to  enter  monasteries,  which  had  not  been  granted 
previously.  This  permission  is  noticeable,  for  it  implies,  even 
at  this  early  date,  the  theory  that  a  subject  of  the  Emperor 
has  no  right  to  become  a  monk  without  his  master's  leave. 

In  381  we  are  told  that  in  north-western  China  nine-tenths 
of  the  inhabitants  were  Buddhists.  In  372  Buddhism  was 
introduced  into  Korea  and  accepted  as  the  flower  of  Chinese 

The  state  known  as  the  Former  Ts'in4  had  its  nucleus  in 

r  •  ^e  was  a  remai>kable  man  and  famous  in  his  time,  for  he  was 
credited  not  only  with  clairvoyance  and  producing  rain,  but  with  raising  the  dead. 
Remusat's  account  of  him,  based  on  the  Tsin  annals,  may  still  be  read  with  interest. 
See  Nouv.  Melanges  Asiatiques,  n.  1829,  pp.  179  ff.  His  biography  is  contained  in 

chap.  95  of  the  Tsin  ^py  annals. 

3  ^35  S|  .    Died  363  A.D. 

*  Ts'in  IS  must  be  distinguished  from  Tsin  ?§•  ?  the  name  of  three  short  but 
legitimate  dynasties. 

xun]  CHINA  251 

Shensi,  but  expanded  considerably  between  351  and  394  A.D. 
under  the  leadership  of  Fu-Chien1,  who  established  in  it  large 
colonies  of  Tartars.  At  first  he  favoured  Confucianism  but  in 
381  became  a  Buddhist.  He  was  evidently  in  close  touch  with 
the  western  regions  and  probably  through  them  with  India, 
for  we  hear  that  sixty-two  states  of  Central  Asia  sent  him  tribute. 

The  Later  Ts'in  dynasty  (384-417)  had  its  headquarters 
in  Kansu  and  was  founded  by  vassals  of  the  Former  Ts'in. 
When  the  power  of  Fu-Chien  collapsed,  they  succeeded  to  his 
possessions  and  established  themselves  in  Ch'ang-an.  Yao- 
hsing2,  the  second  monarch  of  this  line  was  a  devout  Buddhist, 
and  deserves  mention  as  the  patron  of  Kumarajiva3,  the  most 
eminent  of  the  earlier  translators. 

Kumarajiva  was  born  of  Indian  parents  in  Kucha  and,  after 
following  the  school  of  the  Sarvastivadins  for  some  time,  became 
a  Mahayanist.  When  Kucha  was  captured  in  383  by  the 
General  of  Fu-Chien,  he  was  carried  off  to  China  and  from  401 
onwards  he  laboured  at  Ch'ang-an  for  about  ten  years.  He  was 
appointed  Kuo  Shih4,  or  Director  of  Public  Instruction,  and 
lectured  in  a  hall  specially  built  for  him.  He  is  said  to  have  had 
3000  disciples  and  fifty  extant  translations  are  ascribed  to  him. 
Probably  all  the  Tartar  kingdoms  were  well  disposed  towards 
Buddhism,  though  their  unsettled  condition  made  them  pre 
carious  residences  for  monks  and  scholars.  This  was  doubtless 
true  of  Northern  Wei,  which  had  been  growing  during  the 
period  described,  but  appears  as  a  prominent  home  of  Buddhism 
somewhat  later. 

Meanwhile  in  the  south  the  Eastern  Tsin  Dynasty,  which 
represented  the  legitimate  Empire  and  ruled  at  Nanking  from 
317  to  420,  was  also  favourable  to  Buddhism  and  Hsiao  Wu-Ti, 
the  ninth  sovereign  of  this  line,  was  the  first  Emperor  of  China 
to  become  a  Buddhist. 

The  times  were  troubled,  but  order  was  gradually  being 
restored.  The  Eastern  Tsin  Dynasty  had  been  much  disturbed 
by  the  struggles  of  rival  princes.  These  were  brought  to  an  end 
in  420  by  a  new  dynasty  known  as  Liu  Sung  which  reigned  in 

3  See  Nanjio,  Catalogue,  p.  406. 

4  H  1S6  •    For  thia  title  see  Pelliot  in  T'oung  Poo,  191 1,  p.  671. 

E.  m.  17 


the  south  some  sixty  years.  The  north  was  divided  among  six 
Tartar  kingdoms,  which  all  perished  before  440  except  Wei. 
Wei  then  split  into  an  Eastern  and  a  Western  kingdom  which 
lasted  about  a  hundred  years.  In  the  south,  the  Liu  Sung  gave 
place  to  three  short  dynasties,  Ch'i,  Liang  and  Ch'en,  until  at 
last  the  Sui  (589-605)  united  China. 

The  Liu  Sung  Emperor  Wen-Ti  (424-454)  was  a  patron  of 
Confucian  learning,  but  does  not  appear  to  have  discouraged 
Buddhism.  The  Sung  annals  record  that  several  embassies  were 
sent  from  India  and  Ceylon  to  offer  congratulations  on  the 
flourishing  condition  of  religion  in  his  dominions,  but  they  also 
preserve  memorials  from  Chinese  officials  asking  for  imperial 
interference  to  prevent  the  multiplication  of  monasteries  and 
the  growing  expenditure  on  superstitious  ceremonies.  This 
marks  the  beginning  of  the  desire  to  curb  Buddhism  by  re 
strictive  legislation  which  the  official  class  displayed  so  promi 
nently  and  persistently  in  subsequent  centuries.  A  similar 
reaction  seems  to  have  been  felt  in  Wei,  where  the  influential 
statesman  Ts'ui  Hao1,  a  votary  of  Taoism,  conducted  an  anti- 
Buddhist  campaign.  He  was  helped  in  this  crusade  by  the 
discovery  of  arms  in  a  monastery  at  Ch'ang-an.  The  monks  were 
accused  of  treason  and  debauchery  and  in  446  Toba  Tao2,  the 
sovereign  of  Wei,  issued  an  edict  ordering  the  destruction  of 
Buddhist  temples  and  sacred  books  as  well  as  the  execution  of 
all  priests.  The  Crown  Prince,  who  was  a  Buddhist,  was  able 
to  save  many  lives,  but  no  monasteries  or  temples  were  left 
standing.  The  persecution,  however,  was  of  short  duration. 
Toba  Tao  was  assassinated  and  almost  the  first  act  of  his 
successor  was  to  re-establish  Buddhism  and  allow  his  subjects 
to  become  monks.  From  this  period  date  the  sculptured  grottoes 
of  Yiin-Kang  in  northern  Shan-si  which  are  probably  the  oldest 
specimens  of  Buddhist  art  in  China.  In  471  another  ruler  of 
Wei,  Toba  Hung,  had  a  gigantic  image  of  Buddha  constructed 
and  subsequently  abdicated  in  order  to  devote  himself  to 

fe     He  was  canonized  under  the  name  of  Wu  OPT     and  the  three 

*  •**'V  > 

great  persecutions  of  Buddhism  are  sometimes  described  as  the  disasters  of  the 
three  Wu,  the  others  being  Wu  of  the  North  Chou  dynasty  (574)  and  Wu  of  the 
T'ang  (845). 


Buddhist  studies.  His  successor  marks  a  reaction,  for  he  was 
an  ardent  Confucianist  who  changed  the  family  name  to  Yuan 
and  tried  to  introduce  the  Chinese  language  and  dress.  But  the 
tide  of  Buddhism  was  too  strong.  It  secured  the  favour  of  the 
next  Emperor  in  whose  time  there  are  said  to  have  been  13,000 
temples  in  Wei. 

In  the  Sung  dominions  a  conspiracy  was  discovered  in  458 
in  which  a  monk  was  implicated,  and  restrictive,  though  not 
prohibitive,  regulations  were  issued  respecting  monasteries. 
The  Emperor  Ming-Ti,  though  a  cruel  ruler  was  a  devout 
Buddhist  and  erected  a  monastery  in  Hu-nan,  at  the  cost  of 
such  heavy  taxation  that  his  ministers  remonstrated.  The  fifty- 
nine  years  of  Liu  Sung  rule  must  have  been  on  the  whole 
favourable  to  Buddhism,  for  twenty  translators  flourished, 
partly  natives  and  partly  foreigners  from  Central  Asia,  India 
and  Ceylon.  In  420  a  band  of  twenty -five  Chinese  started  on  a 
pilgrimage  to  India.  They  had  been  preceded  by  the  celebrated 
pilgrim  Fa-Hsien1  who  travelled  in  India  from  399  to  414. 

In  the  reign  of  Wu-Ti,  the  first  Emperor  of  the  Ch'i  dynasty, 
one  of  the  imperial  princes,  named  Tzu  Liang2,  cultivated  the 
society  of  eminent  monks  and  enjoyed  theological  discussions. 
From  the  specimens  of  these  arguments  which  have  been  pre 
served  we  see  that  the  explanation  of  the  inequalities  of  life 
as  the  result  of  Karma  had  a  great  attraction  for  the  popular 
mind  and  also  that  it  provoked  the  hostile  criticism  of  the 
Confucian  literati. 

The  accession  of  the  Liang  dynasty  and  the  long  reign  of  its 
first  emperor  Wu-Ti  (502-549)  were  important  events  in  the 
history  of  Buddhism,  for  this  monarch  rivalled  Asoka  in  pious 
enthusiasm  if  not  in  power  and  prosperity.  He  obviously  set 
the  Church  above  the  state  and  it  was  while  he  was  on  the 
throne  that  Bodhidharma  came  to  China  and  the  first  edition 
of  the  Tripitaka  was  prepared. 

His  reign,  though  primarily  of  importance  for  religion,  was 
not  wanting  in  political  interest,  and  witnessed  a  long  conflict 
with  Wei.  Wu-Ti  was  aided  by  the  dissensions  which  distracted 
Wei  but  failed  to  achieve  his  object,  probably  as  a  result  of  his 
religious  preoccupations,  for  he  seemed  unable  to  estimate  the 

For  the  25  P11^1118  see  Nanjio,  p.  417. 


power  of  the  various  adventurers  who  from  time  to  time  rose 
to  pre-eminence  in  the  north  and,  holding  war  to  be  wrong,  he 
was  too  ready  to  accept  insincere  overtures  for  peace.  Wei  split 
into  two  states,  the  Eastern  and  Western,  and  Hou-Ching1,  a 
powerful  general  who  was  not  satisfied  with  his  position  in 
either,  offered  his  services  to  Wu-Ti,  promising  to  add  a  large 
part  of  Ho-nan  to  his  dominions.  He  failed  in  his  promise  but 
Wu-Ti,  instead  of  punishing  him,  first  gave  him  a  post  as 
governor  and  then  listened  to  the  proposals  made  by  the  ruler 
of  Eastern  Wei  for  his  surrender.  On  this  Hou-Ching  conspired 
with  an  adopted  son  of  Wu-Ti,  who  had  been  set  aside  as  heir 
to  the  throne  and  invested  Nanking.  The  city  was  captured 
after  the  horrors  of  a  prolonged  siege  and  Wu-Ti  died  miserably. 

Wu-Ti  was  not  originally  a  Buddhist.  In  fact  until  about 
510,  when  he  was  well  over  forty,  he  was  conspicuous  as  a 
patron  of  Confucianism.  The  change  might  be  ascribed  to  per 
sonal  reasons,  but  it  is  noticeable  that  the  same  thing  occurred 
in  Wei,  where  a  period  of  Confucianism  was  succeeded  by  a 
strong  wave  of  Buddhism  which  evidently  swept  over  all  China. 
Hu2,  the  Dowager  Empress  of  Wei,  was  a  fervent  devotee,  though 
of  indifferent  morality  in  both  public  and  private  life  since  she 
is  said  to  have  poisoned  her  own  son.  In  518  she  sent  Sung  Yiin 
and  Hui  Sheng3  to  Udyana  in  search  of  Buddhist  books  of 
which  they  brought  back  175. 

Wu-Ti's  conversion  is  connected  with  a  wandering  monk  and 
magician  called  Pao-Chih4,  who  received  the  privilege  of 
approaching  him  at  all  hours.  A  monastery  was  erected  in 
Nanking  at  great  expense  and  edicts  were  issued  forbidding 
not  only  the  sacrifice  of  animals  but  even  the  representation 
of  living  things  in  embroidery,  on  the  ground  that  people 
might  cut  up  such  figures  and  thus  become  callous  to  the  sanctity 
of  life.  The  emperor  expounded  Sutras  in  public  and  wrote  a 
work  on  Buddhist  ritual5.  The  first  Chinese  edition  of  the 
Tripitaka,  in  manuscript  and  not  printed,  was  collected  in  518. 

8  "T!C^^  ijlL/fc  .  See  Chavannes,  "Voyage  de  Song  Yun  dans  1'Udyana  et 
le  Gandhara,  518-522,"  p.  E  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1903,  pp.  379-441.  For  an  interesting 
account  of  the  Dowager  Empress  see  pp.  384-5. 


Although  Wu-Ti's  edicts,  particularly  that  against  animal 
sacrifices,  gave  great  dissatisfaction,  yet  the  Buddhist  movement 
seems  to  have  been  popular  and  not  merely  an  imperial  whim, 
for  many  distinguished  persons,  for  instance  the  authors  Liu 
Hsieh  and  Yao  Ch'a1,  took  part  in  it. 

In  520  (or  according  to  others,  in  525)  Bodhidharma  (gener 
ally  called  Ta-mo  in  Chinese)  landed  in  Canton  from  India.  He 
is  described  as  the  son  of  a  king  of  a  country  called  Hsiang- 
chih  in  southern  India,  and  the  twenty-eighth  Patriarch2.  He 
taught  that  merit  does  not  lie  in  good  works  and  that  knowledge 
is  not  gained  by  reading  the  scriptures.  The  one  essential  is 
insight,  which  comes  as  illumination  after  meditation.  Though 
this  doctrine  had  subsequently  much  success  in  the  Far  East,  it 
was  not  at  first  appreciated  and  Bodhidharma's  introduction 
to  the  devout  but  literary  Emperor  in  Nanking  was  a  fiasco. 
He  offended  his  Majesty  by  curtly  saying  that  he  had  acquired 
no  merit  by  causing  temples  to  be  built  and  books  to  be  tran 
scribed.  Then,  in  answer  to  the  question,  what  is  the  most  im 
portant  of  the  holy  doctrines,  he  replied  "where  all  is  emptiness, 
nothing  can  be  called  holy."  "Who,"  asked  the  astonished 
Emperor,  "is  he  who  thus  replies  to  me?"  "I  do  not  know," 
said  Bodhidharma. 

Not  being  able  to  come  to  any  understanding  with  Wu-Ti, 
Bodhidharma  went  northwards,  and  is  said  to  have  crossed  the 
Yang-tse  standing  on  a  reed,  a  subject  frequently  represented 
in  Chinese  art3.  He  retired  to  Lo-yang  where  he  spent  nine 
years  in  the  Shao-Lin4  temple  gazing  silently  at  a  wall,  whence 
he  was  popularly  known  as  the  wall-gazer.  One  legend  says 
that  he  sat  so  long  in  contemplation  that  his  legs  fell  off,  and 

2  See  chap.  xxin.  p.  95,  and  chap.  XLV  below  (on  schools  of  Chinese  Buddhism), 
for  more  about  Bodhidharma.  The  earliest  Chinese  accounts  of  him  seem  to  be  those 
contained  in  the  Liang  and  Wei  annals.    But  one  of  the  most  popular  and  fullest 
accounts  is  to  be  found  in  the  Wu  Teng  Hui  Yuan  (first  volume)  printed  at  Kushan 
near  Fuchow. 

3  His  portraits  are  also  frequent  both  in  China  and  Japan  (sec  Ostasiat.  Ztsfl 
1912,  p.  226)  and  the  strongly  marked  features  attributed  to  him  may  j>erhapa 
represent  a  tradition  of  his  personal  appearance,  which  is  entirely  un-Chinese. 
An  elaborate  study  of  Bodhidharma  written  in  Japanese  is  noticed  in  B.E.F.E.O. 
1911,  p.  457. 


a  kind  of  legless  doll  which  is  a  favourite  plaything  in  Japan  is 
still  called  by  his  name.  But  according  to  another  tale  he 
preserved  his  legs.  He  wished  to  return  to  India  but  died  in 
China.  When  Sung  Ytin,  the  traveller  mentioned  above,  was 
returning  from  India,  he  met  him  in  a  mountain  pass  bare 
footed  and  carrying  one  sandal  in  his  hand1.  When  this  was 
reported,  his  coffin  was  opened  and  was  found  to  contain 
nothing  but  the  other  sandal  which  was  long  preserved  as  a 
precious  relic  in  the  Shao-Lin  temple. 

Wu-Ti  adopted  many  of  the  habits  of  a  bonze.  He  was  a 
strict  vegetarian,  expounded  the  scriptures  in  public  and  wrote 
a  work  on  ritual.  He  thrice  retired  into  a  monastery  and  wore 
the  dress  of  a  Bhikkhu.  These  retirements  were  apparently  of 
short  duration  and  his  ministers  twice  redeemed  him  by  heavy 

In  538  a  hair  of  the  Buddha  was  sent  by  the  king  of  Fu-nan 
and  received  with  great  ceremony.  In  the  next  year  a  mission 
was  despatched  to  Magadha  to  obtain  Sanskrit  texts.  It  returned 
in  546  with  a  large  collection  of  manuscripts  and  accompanied 
by  the  learned  Paramartha  who  spent  twenty  years  in  trans 
lating  them2.  Wu-Ti,  in  his  old  age,  became  stricter.  All  luxury 
was  suppressed  at  Court,  but  he  himself  always  wore  full  dress 
and  showed  the  utmost  politeness,  even  to  the  lowest  officials. 
He  was  so  reluctant  to  inflict  the  punishment  of  death  that 
crime  increased.  In  547  he  became  a  monk  for  the  third  time 
and  immediately  afterwards  the  events  connected  with  Hou- 
Ching  (briefly  sketched  above)  began  to  trouble  the  peace  of 
his  old  age.  During  the  siege  of  Nanking  he  was  obliged  to 
depart  from  his  vegetarian  diet  and  eat  eggs.  When  he  was  told 
that  his  capital  was  taken  he  merely  said,  "I  obtained  the 
kingdom  through  my  own  efforts  and  through  me  it  has  been 
lost.  So  I  need  not  complain." 

Hou-Ching  proceeded  to  the  palace,  but3,  overcome  with  awe, 
knelt  down  before  Wu-Ti  who  merely  said,  "I  am  afraid  you 
must  be  fatigued  by  the  trouble  it  has  cost  you  to  destroy  my 
kingdom."  Hou-Ching  was  ashamed  and  told  his  officers  that 

1  The  legend  does  not  fit  in  well  with  chronology  since  Sung-Yiin  is  said  to  have 
returned  from  India  in  522. 

2  See  Takakusu  in  J.E.A.S.  1905,  p.  33. 
8  Mailla,  Hist.  Gdn.  de  la  Chine,  p.  369. 


he  had  never  felt  such  fear  before  and  would  never  dare  to  see 
Wu-Ti  again.  Nevertheless,  the  aged  Emperor  was  treated 
with  indignity  and  soon  died  of  starvation.  His  end,  though 
melancholy,  was  peaceful  compared  with  that  in  store  for  Hou- 
Ching  who,  after  two  years  of  fighting  and  murdering,  assumed 
the  imperial  title,  but  immediately  afterwards  was  defeated  and 
slain.  The  people  ate  his  body  in  the  streets  of  Nanking  and  his 
own  wife  is  said  to  have  swallowed  mouthfuls  of  his  flesh. 

One  of  Wu-Ti's  sons,  Yiian-Ti,  who  reigned  from  552  to  555, 
inherited  his  father's  temper  and  fate  with  this  difference  that 
he  was  a  Taoist,  not  a  Buddhist.  He  frequently  resided  in  the 
temples  of  that  religion,  studied  its  scriptures  and  expounded 
them  to  his  people.  A  great  scholar,  he  had  accumulated  140,000 
volumes,  but  when  it  was  announced  to  him  in  his  library  that 
the  troops  of  Wei  were  marching  on  his  capital,  he  yielded  with 
out  resistance  and  burnt  his  books,  saying  that  they  had  proved 
of  no  use  in  this  extremity. 

This  alternation  of  imperial  patronage  in  the  south  may  have 
been  the  reason  why  Wen  Hsiian  Ti,  the  ruler  of  Northern  Ch'i1, 
and  for  the  moment  perhaps  the  most  important  personage  in 
China,  summoned  Buddhist  and  Taoist  priests  to  a  discussion 
in  555.  Both  religions  could  not  be  true,  he  said,  and  one  must 
be  superfluous.  After  hearing  the  arguments  of  both  he  decided 
in  favour  of  Buddhism  and  ordered  the  Taoists  to  become  bonzes 
on  pain  of  death.  Only  four  refused  and  were  executed. 

Under  the  short  Ch'en  dynasty  (557-589)  the  position  of 
Buddhism  continued  favourable.  The  first  Emperor,  a  mild  and 
intelligent  sovereign,  though  circumstances  obliged  him  to  put 
a  great  many  people  out  of  the  way,  retired  to  a  monastery  after 
reigning  for  two  years.  But  in  the  north  there  was  a  temporary 
reaction.  Wu-Ti,  of  the  Northern  Chou  dynasty2,  first  of  all 
defined  the  precedence  of  the  three  religions  as  Confucianism, 
Taoism,  Buddhism  and  then,  in  575,  prohibited  the  two  latter, 
ordering  temples  to  be  destroyed  and  priests  to  return  to  the 
world.  But  as  usual  the  persecution  was  not  of  long  duration. 
Five  years  later  Wu-Ti's  son  withdrew  his  father's  edict  and 
in  582,  the  founder  of  the  Sui  dynasty,  gave  the  population 
permission  to  become  monks.  He  may  be  said  to  have  used 


Buddhism  as  his  basis  for  restoring  the  unity  of  the  Empire 
and  in  his  old  age  he  became  devout.  The  Sui  annals  observe 
that  Buddhist  books  had  become  more  numerous  under  this 
dynasty  than  those  of  the  Confucianists,  and  no  less  than  three 
collections  of  the  Tripitaka  were  made  between  594  and  616. 

With  the  seventh  century  began  the  great  Tang  dynasty 
(620-907).  Buddhism  had  now  been  known  to  the  rulers  of 
China  for  about  550  years.  It  began  as  a  religion  tolerated  but 
still  regarded  as  exotic  and  not  quite  natural  for  the  sons  of 
Han.  It  had  succeeded  in  establishing  itself  as  the  faith  of  the 
majority  among  both  Tartars  and  Chinese.  The  rivalry  of 
Taoism  was  only  an  instance  of  that  imitation  which  is  the 
sincerest  flattery.  Though  the  opposition  of  the  mandarins 
assumed  serious  proportions  whenever  they  could  induce  an 
Emperor  to  share  their  views,  yet  the  hostile  attitude  of  the 
Government  never  lasted  long  and  was  not  shared  by  the  mass 
of  the  people.  It  is  clear  that  the  permissions  to  practise 
Buddhism  which  invariably  followed  close  on  the  prohibitions 
were  a  national  relief.  Though  Buddhism  tended  to  mingle  with 
Taoism  and  other  indigenous  ideas,  the  many  translations  of 
Indian  works  and  the  increasing  intercourse  between  Chinese  and 
Hindus  had  diffused  a  knowledge  of  its  true  tenets  and  practice. 

The  T'ang  dynasty  witnessed  a  triangular  war  between  Con 
fucianism,  Buddhism  and  Taoism.  As  a  rule  Confucianism 
attacked  the  other  two  as  base  superstitions  but  sometimes,  as 
in  the  reign  of  Wu  Tsung,  Taoism  seized  a  chance  of  being  able 
to  annihilate  Buddhism.  This  war  continued  under  the  Northern 
Sung,  though  the  character  of  Chinese  Buddhism  changed,  for 
the  Contemplative  School,  which  had  considerable  affinities  to 
Taoism,  became  popular  at  the  expense  of  the  T'ien  T'ai.  After 
the  Northern  Sung  (except  under  the  foreign  Mongol  dynasty) 
we  feel  that,  though  Buddhism  was  by  no  means  dead  and  from 
time  to  time  flourished  exceedingly,  yet  Confucianism  had 
established  its  claim  to  be  the  natural  code  and  creed  of  the 
scholar  and  statesman.  The  Chinese  Court  remained  a  strange 
place  to  the  end  but  scholarship  and  good  sense  had  a  large 
measure  of  success  in  banishing  extravagance  from  art  and 
literature.  Yet,  alas,  the  intellectual  life  of  China  lost  more  in 
fire  and  brilliancy  than  it  gained  in  sanity.  Probably  the  most 
critical  times  for  literature  and  indeed  for  thought  were  those 

XLHI]  CHINA  259 

brief  periods  under  the  Sui  and  Tang1  when  Buddhist  and  Taoist 
books  were  accepted  as  texts  for  the  public  examinations  and 
the  last  half  century  of  the  Northern  Sung,  when  the  educational 
reforms  of  Wang  An  Shih  were  intermittently  in  force.  The 
innovations  were  cancelled  in  all  cases.  Had  they  lasted, 
Chinese  style  and  mentality  might  have  been  different. 

The  T'ang  dynasty,  though  on  the  whole  favourable  to 
Buddhism,  and  indeed  the  period  of  its  greatest  prosperity, 
opened  with  a  period  of  reaction.  To  the  founder,  Kao  Tsu, 
is  attributed  the  saying  that  Confucianism  is  as  necessary  to 
the  Chinese  as  wings  to  a  bird  or  water  to  a  fish.  The  imperial 
historiographer  Fu  I2  presented  to  his  master  a  memorial 
blaming  Buddhism  because  it  undervalued  natural  relationships 
and  urging  that  monks  and  nuns  should  be  compelled  to  marry. 
He  was  opposed  by  Hsiao  Yii3,  who  declared  that  hell  was  made 
for  such  people  as  his  opponent  —  an  argument  common  to  many 
religions.  The  Emperor  followed  on  the  whole  advice  of  Fu  I. 
Magistrates  were  ordered  to  inquire  into  the  lives  of  monks  and 
nuns.  Those  found  pure  and  sincere  were  collected  in  the  large 
establishments.  The  rest  were  ordered  to  return  to  the  world 
and  the  smaller  religious  houses  were  closed.  Kao  Tsu  abdicated 
in  627  but  his  son  Tai  Tsung  continued  his  religious  policy,  and 
the  new  Empress  was  strongly  anti-Buddhist,  for  when  mortally 
ill  she  forbade  her  son  to  pray  for  her  recovery  in  Buddhist 
shrines.  Yet  the  Emperor  cannot  have  shared  these  sentiments 
at  any  rate  towards  the  end  of  his  reign4.  He  issued  an  edict 
allowing  every  monastery  to  receive  five  new  monks  and  the 

1  See  Biot,  Hist,  de  ^instruction  publique  en  Chine,  pp.  289,  313. 

a  /jffiZffi.     Is  celebrated  in  Chinese  history  as  one  of  the  greatest  opponents 

of  Buddhism.  He  collected  all  the  objections  to  it  in  10  books  and  warned  his  son 
against  it  on  his  death  bed.  Giles,  Biog.  Diet.  589. 

8   IsJra.     An  important  minister  and  apparently  a  man  of  talent  but  of 

yiTn     WP 

ungovernable  and  changeable  temper.  In  639  he  obtained  the  Emperor's  leave  to 
become  a  priest  but  soon  left  his  monastery.  The  Emperor  ordered  him  to  be 
canonized  under  the  name  Pure  but  Narrow.  Giles,  Biog.  Diet.  722.  The  monk 

Fa-Lin        •C  also  attacked  the  views  of  Fu  I  in  two  treatises  which  have  been 

incorporated  in  the  Chinese  Tripitaka.   See  Nanjio,  Cat.  Nos.  1500,  1501. 

4  Subsequently  a  story  grew  up  that  his  soul  had  visited  hell  during  a  prolonged 
fainting  fit  after  which  he  recovered  and  became  a  devout  Buddhist.  See  chap,  xi 
of  the  Romance  called  Hsi-yu-chi,  a  fantastic  travesty  of  Hsiian  Chuang's  travels, 
and  Wieger,  Textes  Historiques,  p.  1585. 


celebrated  journey  of  Hsiian  Chuang1  was  made  in  his  reign. 
When  the  pilgrim  returned  from  India,  he  was  received  with 
public  honours  and  a  title  was  conferred  on  him.  Learned  monks 
were  appointed  to  assist  him  in  translating  the  library  he  had 
brought  back  and  the  account  of  his  travels  was  presented  to 
the  Emperor  who  also  wrote  a  laudatory  preface  to  his  version 
of  the  Prajnaparamita.  It  was  in  this  reign  also  that  Nestorian 
missionaries  first  appeared  in  China  and  were  allowed  to  settle 
in  the  capital.  Diplomatic  relations  were  maintained  with  India. 
The  Indian  Emperor  Harsha  sent  an  envoy  in  641  and  two 
Chinese  missions  were  despatched  in  return.  The  second,  led 
by  Wang  Hsiian-Ts'e2,  did  not  arrive  until  after  the  death  of 
Harsha  when  a  usurper  had  seized  the  throne.  Wang  Hsiian- 
Ts'e  collected  a  small  army  in  Tibet,  dethroned  the  usurper  and 
brought  him  as  a  prisoner  to  China. 

The  latter  half  of  the  seventh  century  is  dominated  by  the 
figure  of  the  Dowager  Empress  Wu,  the  prototype  of  the  cele 
brated  lady  who  took  charge  of  China's  fate  in  our  own  day  and, 
like  her,  superhuman  in  decision  and  unscrupulousness,  yet 
capable  of  inspiring  loyalty.  She  was  a  concubine  of  the  Emperor 
Tai  Tsung  and  when  he  died  in  649  lived  for  a  short  time  as  a 
Buddhist  nun.  The  eventful  life  of  Wu  Hou,  who  was  at  least 
successful  in  maintaining  order  at  home  and  on  the  frontiers, 
belongs  to  the  history  of  China  rather  than  of  Buddhism.  She 
was  not  an  ornament  of  the  faith  nor  an  example  of  its  principles, 
but,  mindful  of  the  protection  it  had  once  afforded  her,  she  gave 
it  her  patronage  even  to  the  extent  of  making  a  bonze  named 
Huai  I3  the  minister  of  her  mature  passions  when  she  was  nearly 

1  ^-5*^ .  This  name  has  been  transliterated  in  an  extraordinary  number  of 
ways.  See  B.E.F.E.O.  1905,  pp.  424-430.  Giles  gives  Hsiian  Chuang  in  his  Chinese 
Dictionary,  but  Hsiian  Tsang  in  his  Biographical  Dictionary.   Probably  the  latter  is 
more  correct.   Not  only  is  the  pronunciation  of  the  characters  variable,  but  the 

character  j^T  was  tabooed  as  being  part  of  the  Emperor  K'ang  Hsi's  personal 
name  and  ~TQ  substituted  for  it.  Hence  the  spelling  Yuan  Chuang. 

2  ^  jfejp[.    See  Vincent  Smith,  Early  History  of  India,  pp.  326-327,  and 
Giles,  Biog.  Diet.,  s.v.  Wang  Hsiian-T'se.   This  worthy  appears  to  have  gone  to 
India  again  in  657  to  offer  robes  at  the  holy  places. 

3  tPI        •    ^ome  °^  ^ne  principal  statues  in  the  caves  of  Lung-men  were  made 
at  her  expense,  but  other  parts  of  these  caves  seem  to  date  from  at  least  500  A.D. 
Chavannes,  Mission  Archeol.  tome  i,  deuxieme  partie. 


seventy  years  old.  A  magnificent  temple,  at  which  10,000  men 
worked  daily,  was  built  for  him,  but  the  Empress  was  warned 
that  he  was  collecting  a  body  of  vigorous  monks  nominally  for 
its  service,  but  really  for  political  objects.  She  ordered  these 
persons  to  be  banished.  Huai  I  was  angry  and  burnt  the  temple. 
The  Empress  at  first  merely  ordered  it  to  be  rebuilt,  but  finding 
that  Huai  I  was  growing  disrespectful,  she  had  him  assassinated. 

We  hear  that  the  Mahamegha-sutra1  was  presented  to  her 
and  circulated  among  the  people  with  her  approval.  About  690 
she  assumed  divine  honours  and  accommodated  these  preten 
sions  to  Buddhism  by  allowing  herself  to  be  styled  Mai  trey  a  or 
Kuan -y in.  After  her  death  at  the  age  of  80,  there  does  not  appear 
to  have  been  any  religious  change,  for  two  monks  were  appointed 
to  high  office  and  orders  were  issued  that  Buddhist  and  Taoist 
temples  should  be  built  in  every  Department.  But  the  earlier 
part  of  the  reign  of  Hsiian  Tsung2  marks  a  temporary  reaction. 
It  was  represented  to  him  that  rich  families  wasted  their 
substance  on  religious  edifices  and  that  the  inmates  were  well- 
to-do  persons  desirous  of  escaping  the  burdens  of  public  service. 
He  accordingly  forbade  the  building  of  monasteries,  making  of 
images  and  copying  of  sutras,  and  12,000  monks  were  ordered 
to  return  to  the  world.  In  725  he  ordered  a  building  known  as 
"Hall  of  the  Assembled  Spirits"  to  be  renamed  "Hall  of  As 
sembled  Worthies,"  because  spirits  were  mere  fables. 

In  the  latter  part  of  his  life  he  became  devout  though  ad 
dicted  to  Taoism  rather  than  Buddhism.  But  he  must  have 
outgrown  his  anti-Buddhist  prejudices,  for  in  730  the  seventh 
collection  of  the  Tripitaka  was  made  under  his  auspices.  Many 
poets  of  this  period  such  as  Su  Chin  and  the  somewhat  later 
Liu  Tsung  Yuan3  were  Buddhists  and  the  paintings  of  the  great 
Wu  Tao-tzu  and  Wang-wei  (painter  as  well  as  poet)  glowed  with 
the  inspiration  of  the  T'ien-t'ai  teaching.  In  740  there  were 
in  the  city  of  Ch'ang-An  alone  sixty-four  monasteries  and 

1  ^||L*$§£.  Ta-Yun-Ching.  See  J.A.  1913,  p.  149.  The  late  Dowager  Empress 

also  was  fond  of  masquerading  as  Kuan-yin  but  it  does  not  appear  that  the  per 
formance  was  meant  to  be  taken  seriously. 

2  "That  romantic  Chinese  reign  of  Genso  (713-756)  which  is  the  real  absolu 
culmination  of  Chinese  genius."    Fenollosa,  Epochs  of  Chinese  and  Japanese  ar 
I.  102. 


twenty-seven  nunneries.  A  curious  light  is  thrown  on  the  in 
consistent  and  composite  character  of  Chinese  religious  senti 
ment  —  as  noticeable  to-day  as  it  was  twelve  hundred  years  ago 
—  by  the  will  of  Yao  Ch'ung1  a  statesman  who  presented  a 
celebrated  anti-Buddhist  memorial  to  this  Emperor.  In  his 
will  he  warns  his  children  solemnly  against  the  creed  which  he 
hated  and  yet  adds  the  following  direction.  ''When  I  am  dead, 
on  no  account  perform  for  me  the  ceremonies  of  that  mean 
religion.  But  if  you  feel  unable  to  follow  orthodoxy  in  every 
respect,  then  yield  to  popular  custom  and  from  the  first  seventh 
day  after  my  death  until  the  last  (i.e.  seventh)  seventh  day,  let 
mass  be  celebrated  by  the  Buddhist  clergy  seven  times:  and 
when,  as  these  masses  require,  you  must  offer  gifts  to  me,  use 
the  clothes  which  I  wore  in  life  and  do  not  use  other  valuable 

In  751  a  mission  was  sent  to  the  king  of  Ki-pin2.  The  staff 
included  Wu-K'ung3,  also  known  as  Dharmadhatu,  who  re 
mained  some  time  in  India,  took  the  vows  and  ultimately 
returned  to  China  with  many  books  and  relics.  It  is  probable 
that  in  this  and  the  following  centuries  Hindu  influence  reached 
the  outlying  province  of  Yunnan  directly  through  Burma4. 

Letters,  art  and  pageantry  made  the  Court  of  Hsiian  Tsung 
brilliant,  but  the  splendour  faded  and  his  reign  ended  tragically 
in  disaster  and  rebellion.  The  T'ang  dynasty  seemed  in  danger 
of  collapse.  But  it  emerged  successfully  from  these  troubles 
and  continued  for  a  century  and  a  half.  During  the  whole  of 
this  period  the  Emperors  with  one  exception5  were  favourable 
to  Buddhism,  and  the  latter  half  of  the  eighth  century  marks 
in  Buddhist  history  an  epoch  of  increased  popularity  among  the 
masses  but  also  the  spread  of  ritual  and  doctrinal  corruption, 
for  it  is  in  these  years  that  its  connection  with  ceremonies  for 
the  repose  and  honour  of  the  dead  became  more  intimate. 


pT|    £-C** 

2  P*ft  >^  '  ^e  mean*n&  °f  this  name  appears  to  vary  at  different  times.  At  this 
period  it  is  probably  equivalent  to  Kapisa  or  N.E.  Afghanistan. 

4  SeeB.E.F.E.O.  1904,  p.  161.  This  does  not  exclude  the  possibility  of  an  opposite 
current,  viz.  Chinese  Buddhism  flowing  into  Burma. 
6  Wu-Tsung,  841-847. 

XLm]  CHINA  263 

These  middle  and  later  T'ang  Emperors  were  not  exclusive 
Buddhists.  According  to  the  severe  judgment  of  their  own 
officials,  they  were  inclined  to  unworthy  and  outlandish 
superstitions.  Many  of  them  were  under  the  influence  of 
eunuchs,  magicians  and  soothsayers,  and  many  of  those  who 
were  not  assassinated  died  from  taking  the  Taoist  medicine 
called  Elixir  of  Immortality.  Yet  it  was  not  a  period  of  deca 
dence  and  dementia.  It  was  for  China  the  age  of  Augustus,  not 
of  Heliogabalus.  Art  and  literature  flourished  and  against  Han- 
Yii,  the  brilliant  adversary  of  Buddhism,  may  be  set  Liu  Tsung 
Yuan1,  a  writer  of  at  least  equal  genius  who  found  in  it  his 
inspiration.  A  noble  school  of  painting  grew  up  in  the  Buddhist 
monasteries  and  in  a  long  line  of  artists  may  be  mentioned  the 
great  name  of  Wu  Tao-tzu,  whose  religious  pictures  such  as 
Kuan-yin,  Purgatory  and  the  death  of  the  Buddha  obtained 
for  him  a  fame  which  is  still  living.  Among  the  streams  which 
watered  this  paradise  of  art  and  letters  should  doubtless  be 
counted  the  growing  importance  of  Central  and  Western  Asia 
in  Chinese  policy  and  the  consequent  influx  of  their  ideas.  In 
the  mid  T'ang  period  Manichseism,  Nestorianism  and  Zoro- 
astrianism  all  were  prevalent  in  China.  The  first  was  the  religion 
of  the  Uigurs.  So  long  as  the  Chinese  had  to  keep  on  good  terms 
with  this  tribe  Manichaeism  was  respected,  but  when  they  were 
defeated  by  the  Kirghiz  and  became  unimportant,  it  was  abruptly 
suppressed  (843).  In  this  period,  too,  Tibet  became  of  great 
importance  for  the  Chinese.  Their  object  was  to  keep  open  the 
passes  leading  to  Ferghana  and  India.  But  the  Tibetans  some 
times  combined  with  the  Arabs,  who  had  conquered  Turkestan, 
to  close  them  and  in  763  they  actually  sacked  Chang  An.  China 
endeavoured  to  defend  herself  by  making  treaties  with  the 
Indian  border  states,  but  in  175  the  Arabs  inflicted  a  disastrous 
defeat  on  her  troops.  A  treaty  of  peace  was  subsequently  made 
with  Tibet2. 

When  Su-Tsung  (756-762),  the  son  of  Hsuan-Tsung,  was 
safely  established  on  the  throne,  he  began  to  show  his  devotion 
to  Buddhism.  He  installed  a  chapel  in  the  Palace  which  was 

1  "  Liu-Tsung- Yuan  has  left  behind  him  much  that  for  purity  of  style  and  felicity 
of  expression  has  rarely  been  surpassed,"  Giles,  Chinese  Literature,  p.  191. 

2  Apparently  in  783  A.D.    See  Waddell's  articles  on  Ancient  Historical  Edicts 
at  Lhasa  in  J.R.A.S.  1909,  1910,  1911. 


served  by  several  hundred  monks  and  caused  his  eunuchs  and 
guards  to  dress  up  as  Bodhisattvas  and  Genii.  His  ministers, 
who  were  required  to  worship  these  maskers,  vainly  remon 
strated  as  also  when  he  accepted  a  sort  of  Sibylline  book  from 
a  nun  who  alleged  that  she  had  ascended  to  heaven  and  received 
it  there. 

The  next  Emperor,  Tai-Tsung,  was  converted  to  Buddhism 
by  his  Minister  Wang  Chin1,  a  man  of  great  abilities  who  was 
subsequently  sentenced  to  death  for  corruption,  though  the 
Emperor  commuted  the  sentence  to  banishment.  Tai-Tsung 
expounded  the  scriptures  in  public  himself  and  the  sacred  books 
were  carried  from  one  temple  to  another  in  state  carriages  with 
the  same  pomp  as  the  sovereign.  In  768  the  eunuch  Yii  Chao-fin2 
built  a  great  Buddhist  temple  dedicated  to  the  memory  of  the 
Emperor's  deceased  mother.  In  spite  of  his  minister's  remon 
strances,  His  Majesty  attended  the  opening  and  appointed 
1000  monks  and  nuns  to  perform  masses  for  the  dead  annually 
on  the  fifteenth  day  of  the  seventh  month.  This  anniversary 
became  generally  observed  as  an  All  Souls'  Day,  and  is  still 
one  of  the  most  popular  festivals  in  China.  Priests  both  Buddhist 
and  Taoist  recite  prayers  for  the  departed,  rice  is  scattered 
abroad  to  feed  hungry  ghosts  and  clothes  are  burnt  to  be  used 
by  them  in  the  land  of  shadows.  Large  sheds  are  constructed 
in  which  are  figures  representing  scenes  from  the  next  world 
and  the  evening  is  enlivened  by  theatricals,  music  and  fire 

The  establishment  of  this  festival  was  due  to  the  celebrated 
teacher  Amogha  (Pu-k'ung),  and  marks  the  official  recognition 
by  Chinese  Buddhism  of  those  services  for  the  dead  which  have 
rendered  it  popular  at  the  cost  of  forgetting  its  better  aspects. 
Amogha  was  a  native  of  Ceylon  (or,  according  to  others,  of 
Northern  India),  who  arrived  in  China  in  719  with  his  teacher 
Vajrabodhi.  After  the  latter 's  death  he  revisited  India  and 
Ceylon  in  search  of  books  and  came  back  in  746.  He  wished  to 
return  to  his  own  country,  but  permission  was  refused  and 
until  his  death  in  774  he  was  a  considerable  personage  at  Court, 

8  See  Eitcl,  Handbook  of  Chinese.  Buddhism,  p.  185  s.v.   Ullambana,  a  somewhat 
doubtful  word,  apparently  rendered  into  Chinese  as  Yu-lan-p'en. 

XLiiil  CHINA  265 

receiving  high  rank  and  titles.  The  Chinese  Tripitaka  contains 
108  translations1  ascribed  to  him,  mostly  of  a  tan  trie  character, 
though  to  the  honour  of  China  it  must  be  said  that  the  erotic 
mysticism  of  some  Indian  tantras  never  found  favour  there. 
Amogha  is  a  considerable,  though  not  auspicious,  figure  in  the 
history  of  Chinese  Buddhism,  and,  so  far  as  such  changes  can 
be  the  work  of  one  man,  on  him  rests  the  responsibility  of 
making  it  become  in  popular  estimation  a  religion  specially 
concerned  with  funeral  rites2. 

Some  authors3  try  to  prove  that  the  influx  of  Nestorianism 
under  the  T'ang  dynasty  had  an  important  influence  on  the 
later  development  of  Buddhism  in  China  and  Japan  and  in 
particular  that  it  popularized  these  services  for  the  dead.  But 
this  hypothesis  seems  to  me  unproved  and  unnecessary.  Such 
ceremonies  were  an  essential  part  of  Chinese  religion  and  no 
faith  could  hope  to  spread,  if  it  did  not  countenance  them :  they 
are  prominent  in  Hinduism  and  not  unknown  to  Pali  Buddhism4. 
Further  the  ritual  used  in  China  and  Japan  has  often  only  a 
superficial  resemblance  to  Christian  masses  for  the  departed. 
Part  of  it  is  magical  and  part  of  it  consists  in  acquiring  merit 
by  the  recitation  of  scriptures  which  have  no  special  reference 
to  the  dead.  This  merit  is  then  formally  transferred  to  them. 
Doubtless  Nestorianism,  in  so  far  as  it  was  associated  with 
Buddhism,  tended  to  promote  the  worship  of  Bodhisattvas  and 
prayers  addressed  directly  to  them,  but  this  tendency  existed 
independently  and  the  Nestorian  monument  indicates  not  that 
Nestorianism  influenced  Buddhism  but  that  it  abandoned  the 
doctrine  of  the  atonement. 

In  819  a  celebrated  incident  occurred.  The  Emperor  Hsien- 
Tsung  had  been  informed  that  at  the  Fa-men  monastery  in 
Shen-si  a  bone  of  the  Buddha  was  preserved  which  every  thirty 
years  exhibited  miraculous  powers.  As  this  was  the  auspicious 
year,  he  ordered  the  relic  to  be  brought  in  state  to  the  capital 

1  Sec  Nanjio  Catalogue,  pp.  445-448. 

2  He  is  also  said  to  have  introduced  the  images  of  the  Four  Kings  which  arc  now 
found  in  every  temple.   A  portrait  of  him  by  Li  Chien  is  reproduced  in  Tajima's 
Mailer  pieces,  vol.  vm,  plate  ix.   The  artist  was  perhaps  his  contemporary. 

3  E.g.  Sacki,  The  Nestor ian  Monument  in  China,  1916.  See  also  above,  p.  217. 

*  See  Khuddaka-Patha,  7;  Peta  Vatthu,  1,  5  and  the  commentary;  Milinda 
Panha,  iv.  8,  29;  and  for  modern  practices  my  chapter  on  Siam,  and  Copleston, 
Buddhism,  p.  445. 


and  lodged  in  the  Imperial  Palace,  after  which  it  was  to  make 
the  round  of  the  monasteries  in  the  city.  This  proceeding  called 
forth  an  animated  protest  from  Han-Yii1,  one  of  the  best  known 
authors  and  statesmen  then  living,  who  presented  a  memorial, 
still  celebrated  as  a  masterpiece.  The  following  extract  will  give 
an  idea  of  its  style.  "Your  Servant  is  well  aware  that  your 
Majesty  does  not  do  this  (give  the  bone  such  a  reception)  in 
the  vain  hope  of  deriving  advantage  therefrom  but  that  in  the 
fulness  of  our  present  plenty  there  is  a  desire  to  comply  with 
the  wishes  of  the  people  in  the  celebration  at  the  capital  of 
this  delusive  mummery.... For  Buddha  was  a  barbarian.  His 
language  was  not  the  language  of  China.  His  clothes  were  of 
an  alien  cut.  He  did  not  utter  the  maxims  of  our  ancient  rulers 
nor  conform  to  the  customs  which  they  have  handed  down. 
He  did  not  appreciate  the  bond  between  prince  and  minister, 
the  tie  between  father  and  son.  Had  this  Buddha  come  to  our 
capital  in  the  flesh,  your  Majesty  might  have  received  him  with 
a  few  words  of  admonition,  giving  him  a  banquet  and  a  suit 
of  clothes,  before  sending  him  out  of  the  country  with  an  escort 
of  soldiers. 

"  But  what  are  the  facts?  The  bone  of  a  man  long  since  dead 
and  decomposed  is  to  be  admitted  within  the  precincts  of  the 
Imperial  Palace.  Confucius  said,  'respect  spiritual  beings  but 
keep  them  at  a  distance.'  And  so  when  princes  of  old  paid 
visits  of  condolence,  it  was  customary  to  send  a  magician  in 
advance  with  a  peach-rod  in  his  hand,  to  expel  all  noxious 
influences  before  the  arrival  of  his  master.  Yet  now  your 
Majesty  is  about  to  introduce  without  reason  a  disgusting 
object,  personally  taking  part  in  the  proceedings  without  the 
intervention  of  the  magician  or  his  wand.  Of  the  officials  not 
one  has  raised  his  voice  against  it :  of  the  Censors2  not  one  has 
pointed  out  the  enormity  of  such  an  act.  Therefore  your  servant, 
overwhelmed  with  shame  for  the  Censors,  implores  your  Majesty 
that  these  bones  may  be  handed  over  for  destruction  by  fire 

Some  native  critics,  however,  have  doubted  the  authenticity  of  the 

received  text  and  the  version  inserted  in  the  Official  History  seems  to  be  a  summary. 
See  Wieger,  Textes  Historiques,  vol.  in.  pp.  1726  ff.,  and  Giles,  Chinese  Literature, 
pp.  200  ff . 

2  The  officials  whose  duty  it  was  to  remonstrate  with  the  Emperor  if  he  acted 

XLIH]  CHINA  267 

or  water,  whereby  the  root  of  this  great  evil  may  be  exter 
minated  for  all  time  and  the  people  may  know  how  much  the 
wisdom  of  your  Majesty  surpasses  that  of  ordinary  men1." 

The  Emperor  became  furious  when  he  read  the  memorial 
and  wished  to  execute  its  author  on  the  spot.  But  Han-Yii's 
many  friends  saved  him  and  the  sentence  was  commuted  to 
honourable  banishment  as  governor  of  a  distant  town.  Shortly 
afterwards  the  Emperor  died,  not  of  Buddhism,  but  of  the  elixir 
of  immortality  which  made  him  so  irritable  that  his  eunuchs 
put  him  out  of  the  way.  Han-Yti  was  recalled  but  died  the  next 
year.  Among  his  numerous  works  was  one  called  Yuan  Tao, 
much  of  which  was  directed  against  non-Confucian  forms  of 
religion.  It  is  still  a  thesaurus  of  arguments  for  the  opponents 
of  Buddhism  and,  let  it  be  added,  of  Christianity. 

It  is  not  surprising  that  the  prosperity  of  the  Buddhist 
church  should  have  led  to  another  reaction,  but  it  came  not 
so  much  from  the  literary  and  sceptical  class  as  from  Taoism 
which  continued  to  enjoy  the  favour  of  the  T'ang  Emperors, 
although  they  died  one  after  another  of  drinking  the  elixir.  The 
Emperor  Wu-Tsung  was  more  definitely  Taoist  than  his  pre 
decessors.  In  843  he  suppressed  Manicheeism  and  in  845,  at 
the  instigation  of  his  Taoist  advisers,  he  dealt  Buddhism  the 
severest  blow  which  it  had  yet  received.  In  a  trenchant  edict2 
he  repeated  the  now  familiar  arguments  that  it  is  an  alien 
and  maleficent  superstition,  unknown  under  the  ancient  and 
glorious  dynasties  and  injurious  to  the  customs  and  morality  of 
the  nation.  Incidentally  he  testifies  to  its  influence  and  popu 
larity  for  he  complains  of  the  crowds  thronging  the  temples 
which  eclipse  the  imperial  palaces  in  splendour  and  the  in 
numerable  monks  and  nuns  supported  by  the  contributions  of 
the  people.  Then,  giving  figures,  he  commands  that  4600  great 
temples  and  40,000  smaller  rural  temples  be  demolished,  that 
their  enormous3  landed  property  be  confiscated,  that  260,500 
monks  and  nuns  be  secularized  and  150,000  temple  slaves4  set 
free.  These  statistics  are  probably  exaggerated  and  in  any  case 
the  Emperor  had  barely  time  to  execute  his  drastic  orders, 

1  Giles,  Chinese  Literature,  pp.  201,  202 — somewhat  abbreviated. 

2  See  Wieger,  Textes  Historiques,  vol.  m.  pp.  1744  ff. 

8  "Thousands  of  ten-thousands  of  Ch'ing."   A  Ch'ing^  15-13  acres. 
4  Presumably  similar  to  the  temple  slaves  of  Camboja,  etc. 

E.  ra.  18 


though  all  despatch  was  used  on  account  of  the  private  fortunes 
which  could  be  amassed  incidentally  by  the  executive. 

As  the  Confucian  chronicler  of  his  doings  observes,  he 
suppressed  Buddhism  on  the  ground  that  it  is  a  superstition 
but  encouraged  Taoism  which  is  no  better.  Indeed  the  impartial 
critic  must  admit  that  it  is  much  worse,  at  any  rate  for  Emperors. 
Undeterred  by  the  fate  of  his  predecessors  Wu-Tsung  began  to 
take  the  elixir  of  immortality.  He  suffered  first  from  nervous 
irritability,  then  from  internal  pains,  which  were  explained  as 
due  to  the  gradual  transformation  of  his  bones,  and  at  the 
beginning  of  846  he  became  dumb.  No  further  explanation  of 
his  symptoms  was  then  given  him  and  his  uncle  Hsiian  Tsung 
was  raised  to  the  throne.  His  first  act  was  to  revoke  the  anti- 
Buddhist  edict,  the  Taoist  priests  who  had  instigated  it  were 
put  to  death,  the  Emperor  and  his  ministers  vied  in  the  work 
of  reconstruction  and  very  soon  things  became  again  much  as 
they  were  before  this  great  but  brief  tribulation.  Nevertheless, 
in  852  the  Emperor  received  favourably  a  memorial  complaining 
of  the  Buddhist  reaction  and  ordered  that  all  monks  and  nuns 
must  obtain  special  permission  before  taking  orders.  He  was 
beginning  to  fall  under  Taoist  influence  and  it  is  hard  to  repress 
a  smile  on  reading  that  seven  years  later  he  died  of  the  elixir. 
His  successor  I-Tsung  (860-874),  who  died  at  the  age  of  30,  was 
an  ostentatious  and  dissipated  Buddhist.  In  spite  of  the  re 
monstrances  of  his  ministers  he  again  sent  for  the  sacred  bone 
from  Fa-men  and  received  it  with  even  more  respect  than  his 
predecessor  had  shown,  for  he  met  it  at  the  Palace  gate  and 
bowed  before  it. 

During  the  remainder  of  the  T'ang  dynasty  there  is  little 
of  importance  to  recount  about  Buddhism.  It  apparently 
suffered  no  reverses,  but  history  is  occupied  with  the  struggle 
against  the  Tartars.  The  later  T'ang  Emperors  entered  into 
alliance  with  various  frontier  tribes,  but  found  it  hard  to  keep 
them  in  the  position  of  vassals.  The  history  of  China  from  the 
tenth  to  the  thirteenth  centuries  is  briefly  as  follows.  The  T'ang 
dynasty  collapsed  chiefly  owing  to  the  incapacity  of  the  later 
Emperors  and  was  succeeded  by  a  troubled  period  in  which  five 
short  dynasties  founded  by  military  adventurers,  three  of  whom 
were  of  Turkish  race,  rose  and  fell  in  53  years1.  In  960  the 

1  One  Emperor  of  this  epoch,  Shih-Tsung  of  the  later  Chou  dynasty,  suppressed 

XLIH]  CHINA  269 

Sung  dynasty  united  the  Chinese  elements  in  the  Empire, 
but  had  to  struggle  against  the  Khitan  Tartars  in  the  north 
east  and  against  the  kingdom  of  Hsia  in  the  north-west. 
With  the  twelfth  century  appeared  the  Kins  or  Golden 
Tartars,  who  demolished  the  power  of  the  Khitans  in  alliance 
with  the  Chinese  but  turned  against  their  allies  and  conquered 
all  China  north  of  the  Yang-tze  and  continually  harassed, 
though  they  did  not  capture,  the  provinces  to  the  south  of  it 
which  constituted  the  reduced  empire  of  the  Sungs.  But  their 
power  waned  in  its  turn  before  the  Mongols,  who,  under  Chinggiz 
Khan  and  Ogotai,  conquered  the  greater  part  of  northern  Asia 
and  eastern  Europe.  In  1232  the  Sung  Emperor  entered  into 
alliance  with  the  Mongols  against  the  Kins,  with  the  ultimate 
result  that  though  the  Kins  were  swept  away,  Khubilai, 
the  Khan  of  the  Mongols,  became  Emperor  of  all  China  in 

The  dynasties  of  T'ang  and  Sung  mark  two  great  epochs  in 
the  history  of  Chinese  art,  literature  and  thought,  but  whereas 
the  virtues  and  vices  of  the  T'ang  may  be  summed  up  as  genius 
and  extravagance,  those  of  the  Sung  are  culture  and  tameness. 
But  this  summary  judgment  does  not  do  justice  to  the  painters, 
particularly  the  landscape  painters,  of  the  Sung  and  it  is 
noticeable  that  many  of  the  greatest  masters,  including  Li 
Lung-Mien1,  were  obviously  inspired  by  Buddhism.  The  school 
which  had  the  greatest  influence  on  art  and  literature  was  the 
Ch'an2  or  contemplative  sect  better  known  by  its  Japanese 
name  Zen.  Though  founded  by  Bodhidharma  it  did  not  win 
the  sympathy  and  esteem  of  the  cultivated  classes  until  the 
Sung  period.  About  this  time  the  method  of  block-printing 
was  popularized  and  there  began  a  steady  output  of  compre 
hensive  histories,  collected  works,  encyclopaedias  and  biographies 
which  excelled  anything  then  published  in  Europe.  Antiquarian 
research  and  accessible  editions  of  classical  writers  were  favour- 
monasteries  and  coined  bronze  images  into  currency,  declaring  that  Buddha,  who  in 
so  many  births  had  sacrificed  himself  for  mankind,  would  have  no  objection  to  his 
statues  being  made  useful.  But  in  the  South  Buddhism  flourished  in  the  province 

of  Fukien  under  the  princes  of  Min  Rjn  and  the  dynasty  which  called  itself 
Southern  T'ang. 

1  2  .   See  Kokka  No.  309,  1916.  2    ji. 


able  to  Confucianism,  which  had  always  been  the  religion  of 
the  literati. 

It  is  not  surprising  that  the  Emperors  of  this  literary  dynasty 
were  mostly  temperate  in  expressing  their  religious  emotions. 
T'ai-Tsu,  the  founder,  forbade  cremation  and  remonstrated  with 
the  Prince  of  T'ang,  who  was  a  fervent  Buddhist.  Yet  he  cannot 
have  objected  to  religion  in  moderation,  for  the  first  printed 
edition  of  the  Tripitaka  was  published  in  his  reign  (972)  and 
with  a  preface  of  his  own.  The  early  and  thorough  application 
of  printing  to  this  gigantic  Canon  is  a  proof — if  any  were  needed 
— of  the  popular  esteem  for  Buddhism. 

Nor  did  this  edition  close  the  work  of  translation :  275  later 
translations,  made  under  the  Northern  Sung,  are  still  extant  and 
religious  intercourse  with  India  continued.  The  names  and 
writings  of  many  Hindu  monks  who  settled  in  China  are  pre 
served  and  Chinese  continued  to  go  to  India.  Still  on  the  whole 
there  was  a  decrease  in  the  volume  of  religious  literature  after 
900  A.D.1  In  the  twelfth  century  the  change  was  still  more 
remarkable.  Nanjio  does  not  record  a  single  translation  made 
under  the  Southern  Sung  and  it  is  the  only  great  dynasty  which 
did  not  revise  the  Tripitaka. 

The  second  Sung  Emperor  also,  T'ai  Tsung,  was  not  hostile, 
for  he  erected  in  the  capital,  at  enormous  expense,  a  stupa 
360  feet  high  to  contain  relics  of  the  Buddha.  The  fourth 
Emperor,  Jen-tsung,  a  distinguished  patron  of  literature,  whose 
reign  was  ornamented  by  a  galaxy  of  scholars,  is  said  to  have 
appointed  50  youths  to  study  Sanskrit  but  showed  no  particular 
inclination  towards  Buddhism.  Neither  does  it  appear  to  have 
been  the  motive  power  in  the  projects  of  the  celebrated  social 
reformer,  Wang  An-Shih.  But  the  dynastic  history  says  that 
he  wrote  a  book  full  of  Buddhist  and  Taoist  fancies  and,  though 
there  is  nothing  specifically  Buddhist  in  his  political  and  econo 
mic  theories,  it  is  clear  from  the  denunciations  against  him  that 
his  system  of  education  introduced  Buddhist  and  Taoist  subjects 
into  the  public  examinations2.  It  is  also  clear  that  this  system 
was  favoured  by  those  Emperors  of  the  Northern  Sung  dynasty 
who  were  able  to  think  for  themselves.  In  1087  it  was  abolished 

1  The  decrease  in  translations  is  natural  for  by  this  time  Chinese  versions  had 
been  made  of  most  works  which  had  any  claim  to  be  translated. 

2  See  Biot,  IS  instruction  publique  en  Chine,  p.  350. 


by  the  Empress  Dowager  acting  as  regent  for  the  young  Che 
Tsung,  but  as  soon  as  he  began  to  reign  in  his  own  right  he 
restored  it,  and  it  apparently  remained  in  force  until  the 
collapse  of  the  dynasty  in  1127. 

The  Emperor  Hui-Tsung  (1101-1126)  fell  under  the  influence 
of  a  Taoist  priest  named  Lin  Ling-Su1.  This  young  man  had 
been  a  Buddhist  novice  in  boyhood  but,  being  expelled  for 
misconduct,  conceived  a  hatred  for  his  old  religion.  Under  his 
influence  the  Emperor  not  only  reorganized  Taoism,  sanctioning 
many  innovations  and  granting  many  new  privileges,  but  also 
endeavoured  to  suppress  Buddhism,  not  by  persecution,  but 
by  amalgamation.  By  imperial  decree  the  Buddha  and  his 
Arhats  were  enrolled  in  the  Taoist  pantheon:  temples  and 
monasteries  were  allowed  to  exist  only  on  condition  of  de 
scribing  themselves  as  Taoist  and  their  inmates  had  the  choice 
of  accepting  that  name  or  of  returning  to  the  world. 

But  there  was  hardly  time  to  execute  these  measures, 
so  rapid  was  the  reaction.  In  less  than  a  year  the  insolence  of 
Lin  Ling-Su  brought  about  his  downfall :  the  Emperor  reversed 
his  edict  and,  having  begun  by  suppressing  Buddhism,  ended 
by  oppressing  Taoism.  He  was  a  painter  of  merit  and  perhaps 
the  most  remarkable  artist  who  ever  filled  a  throne.  In  art  he 
probably  drew  no  distinction  between  creeds  and  among  the 
pictures  ascribed  to  him  and  preserved  in  Japan  are  some  of 
Buddhist  subjects.  But  like  Hsiian  Tsung  he  came  to  a  tragic 
end,  and  in  1126  was  carried  into  captivity  by  the  Kin  Tartars 
among  whom  he  died. 

Fear  of  the  Tartars  now  caused  the  Chinese  to  retire  south  of 
the  Yang-tse  and  Hang-chow  was  made  the  seat  of  Government. 
The  century  during  which  this  beautiful  city  was  the  capital 
did  not  produce  the  greatest  names  in  Chinese  history,  but  it 
witnessed  the  perfection  of  Chinese  culture,  and  the  background 
of  impending  doom  heightens  the  brilliancy  of  this  literary  and 
aesthetic  life.  Such  a  society  was  naturally  eclectic  in  religion 
but  Buddhism  of  the  Ch'an  school  enjoyed  consideration  and 
contributed  many  landscape  painters  to  the  roll  of  fame.  But 
the  most  eminent  and  perhaps  the  most  characteristic  thinker 
of  the  period  was  Chu-Hsi  (1130-1200),  the  celebrated  com- 


mentator  on  Confucius  who  reinterpreted  the  master's  writings 
to  the  satisfaction  of  succeeding  ages  though  in  his  own  life  he 
aroused  opposition  as  well  as  enthusiasm.  Chu-Hsi  studied 
Buddhism  in  his  youth  and  some  have  detected  its  influence  in 
his  works,  although  on  most  important  points  he  expressly 
condemned  it.  I  do  not  see  that  there  is  much  definite  Buddhism 
in  his  philosophy,  but  if  Mahay anism  had  never  entered  China 
this  new  Confucianism  would  probably  never  have  arisen  or 
would  have  taken  another  shape.  Though  the  final  result  may 
be  anti-Buddhist  yet  the  topics  chosen  and  the  method  of 
treatment  suggest  that  the  author  felt  it  necessary  to  show  that 
the  Classics  could  satisfy  intellectual  curiosity  and  supply 
spiritual  ideals  just  as  well  as  this  Indian  religion.  Much  of  his 
expositions  is  occupied  with  cosmology,  and  he  accepts  the 
doctrine  of  world  periods,  recurring  in  an  eternal  series  of  growth 
and  decline :  also  he  teaches  not  exactly  transmigration  but  the 
transformation  of  matter  into  various  living  forms1.  His  ac 
counts  of  sages  and  saints  point  to  ideals  which  have  much  in 
common  with  Arhats  and  Buddhas  and,  in  dealing  with  the 
retribution  of  evil,  he  seems  to  admit  that  when  the  universe  is 
working  properly  there  is  a  natural  Karma  by  which  good  or 
bad  actions  receive  even  in  this  life  rewards  in  kind,  but  that 
in  the  present  period  of  decline  nature  has  become  vitiated  so 
that  vice  and  virtue  no  longer  produce  appropriate  results. 

Chu-Hsi  had  a  celebrated  controversy  with  Lu  Chiu-Yuan2,  a 
thinker  of  some  importance  who,  like  himself,  is  commemorated 
in  the  tablets  of  Confucian  temples,  although  he  was  accused 
of  Buddhist  tendencies.  He  held  that  learning  was  not  in 
dispensable  and  that  the  mind  could  in  meditation  rise  above 
the  senses  and  attain  to  a  perception  of  the  truth.  Although  he 
strenuously  denied  the  charge  of  Buddhist  leanings,  it  is  clear 
that  his  doctrine  is  near  in  spirit  to  the  mysticism  of  Bodhi- 
dharma  and  sets  no  store  on  the  practical  ethics  and  studious 
habits  which  are  the  essence  of  Confucianism. 

The  attitude  of  the  Yuan  or  Mongol  dynasty  (1280-1368) 
towards  Buddhism  was  something  new.  Hitherto,  whatever 
may  have  been  the  religious  proclivities  of  individual  Emperors, 

1  See  Le  Gall,  Varields  Sinologiqi(es,No.6  Tchou-Hi:  Sa  doctrine  Son  influence. 
Shanghai,  1894,  pp.  90,  122. 

Compare  the  similar  doctrines  of  Wang  Yang-Ming. 


the  Empire  had  been  a  Confucian  institution.  A  body  of  official 
and  literary  opinion  always  strong  and  often  overwhelmingly 
strong  regarded  imperial  patronage  of  Buddhism  or  Taoism  as 
a  concession  to  the  whims  of  the  people,  as  an  excrescence  on 
the  Son  of  Heaven's  proper  faith  or  even  a  perversion  of  it. 
But  the  Mongol  Court  had  not  this  prejudice  and  Khubilai, 
like  other  members  of  his  house1  and  like  Akbar  in  India,  was 
the  patron  of  all  the  religions  professed  by  his  subjects.  His 
real  object  was  to  encourage  any  faith  which  would  humanize 
his  rude  Mongols.  Buddhism  was  more  congenial  to  them  than 
Confucianism  and  besides,  they  had  made  its  acquaintance 
earlier.  Even  before  Khubilai  became  Emperor,  one  of  his  most 
trusted  advisers  was  a  Tibetan  lama  known  as  Pagspa,  Bashpa 
or  Pa-ssu-pa2.  He  received  the  title  of  Kuo-Shih,  and  after  his 
death  his  brother  succeeded  to  the  same  honours. 

Khubilai  also  showed  favour  to  Mohammedans,  Christians, 
Jews  and  Confucianists,  but  little  to  Taoists.  This  prejudice  was 
doubtless  due  to  the  suggestions  of  his  Buddhist  advisers,  for, 
as  we  have  seen,  there  was  often  rivalry  between  the  two  reli 
gions  and  on  two  occasions  at  least  (in  the  reigns  of  Hui  Tsung 
and  Wu  Tsung)  the  Taoists  made  determined,  if  unsuccessful, 
attempts  to  destroy  or  assimilate  Buddhism.  Khubilai  received 
complaints  that  the  Taoists  represented  Buddhism  as  an  off 
shoot  of  Taoism  and  that  this  objectionable  perversion  of 
truth  and  history  was  found  in  many  of  their  books,  particularly 
the  Hua-Hu-Ching3.  An  edict  was  issued  ordering  all  Taoist 
books  to  be  burnt  with  the  sole  exception  of  the  Tao-Te-Ching 
but  it  does  not  appear  that  the  sect  was  otherwise  persecuted. 

The  Yuan  dynasty  was  consistently  favourable  to  Buddhism. 
Enormous  sums  were  expended  on  subventions  to  monasteries, 
printing  books  and  performing  public  ceremonies.  Old  restric 
tions  were  removed  and  no  new  ones  were  imposed.  But  the 
sect  which  was  the  special  recipient  of  the  imperial  favour  was 

1  E.g.  his  elder  brother  Mangku  who  showed  favour  to  Buddhists,  Moham 
medans  and  Nestorians  alike.  -He  himself  wished  to  obtain  Christian  teachers  from 
the  Pope,  by  the  help  of  Marco  Polo,  but  probably  merely  from  curiosity. 

2  More  accurately  hPhags-pa.    It  is  a  title  rather  than  a  name,  being  the  Tibetan 
equivalent  of  Arya.   Khubilai  seems  to  be  the  correct  transcription  of  the  Emperor's 
name.  The  Tibetan  and  Chinese  transcriptions  are  Hvopilai  and  Hu-pi-lieh. 

3  For  this  curious  work  see  B.E.F.E.O.  1908,  p.  515,  and  J.A.  1913,  i,  pp.  116- 
132.  For  the  destruction  of  Taoist  books  see  Chavannes  in  T'oung  Poo,  1904,  p.  366. 


not  one  of  the  Chinese  schools  but  Lamaism,  the  form  of 
Buddhism  developed  in  Tibet,  which  spread  about  this  time  to 
northern  China,  and  still  exists  there.  It  does  not  appear  that 
in  the  Yuan  period  Lamaism  and  other  forms  of  Buddhism 
were  regarded  as  different  sects1.  A  lamaist  ecclesiastic  was  the 
hierarchical  head  of  all  Buddhists,  all  other  religions  being 
placed  under  the  supervision  of  a  special  board. 

The  Mongol  Emperors  paid  attention  to  religious  literature. 
Khubilai  saw  to  it  that  the  monasteries  in  Peking  were  well 
supplied  with  books  and  ordered  the  bonzes  to  recite  them  on 
stated  days.  A  new  collection  of  the  Tripitaka  (the  ninth)  was 
published  1285-87.  In  1312,  the  Emperor  Jen-tsung  ordered 
further  translations  to  be  made  into  Mongol  and  later  had  the 
whole  Tripitaka  copied  in  letters  of  gold.  It  is  noticeable  that 
another  Emperor,  Cheng  Tsung,  had  the  Book  of  Filial  Piety 
translated  into  Mongol  and  circulated  together  with  a  brief 
preface  by  himself. 

It  is  possible  that  the  Buddhism  of  the  Yuan  dynasty  was 
tainted  with  Saktism  from  which  the  Lama  monasteries  of 
Peking  (in  contrast  to  all  other  Buddhist  sects  in  China)  are 
not  wholly  free.  The  last  Emperor,  Shun-ti,  is  said  to  have 
witnessed  indecent  plays  and  dances  in  the  company  of  Lamas 
and  created  a  scandal  which  contributed  to  the  downfall  of 
the  dynasty2.  In  its  last  years  we  hear  of  some  opposition  to 
Buddhism  and  of  a  reaction  in  favour  of  Confucianism,  in  conse 
quence  of  the  growing  numbers  and  pretensions  of  the  Lamas. 

Whole  provinces  were  under  their  control  and  Chinese 
historians  dwell  bitterly  on  their  lawlessness.  It  was  a  common 
abuse  for  wealthy  persons  to  induce  a  Lama  to  let  their  property 
be  registered  in  his  name  and  thus  avoid  all  payment  of  taxes 
on  the  ground  that  priests  were  exempt  from  taxation  by  law3. 

The  Mongols  were  driven  out  by  the  native  Chinese  dynasty 
known  as  Ming,  which  reigned  from  1368  to  1644.  It  is  not 

1  At  the  present  day  an  ordinary  Chinese  regards  a  Lama  as  quite  different  from 
a  Hoshang  or  Buddhist  monk. 

2  The  Yiian  Emperors  were  no  doubt  fond  of  witnessing  religious  theatricals 
in  the  Palace.    See  for  extracts  front  Chinese  authors,  New  China  Review,  1919, 
pp.  G8  ff.    Compare  the  performances  of  the  T'ang  Emperor  Su  Tsung  mentioned 

8  For  the  ecclesiastical  abuses  of  the  time  see  Kbppen,  n.  103,  and  de  Mailla, 
Hisloirc  dc  la  Chine,  ix.  475,  538. 


easy  to  point  out  any  salient  features  in  religious  activity  or 
thought  during  this  period,  but  since  the  Ming  claimed  to 
restore  Chinese  civilization  interrupted  by  a  foreign  invasion, 
it  was  natural  that  they  should  encourage  Confucianism  as 
interpreted  by  Chu-Hsi.  Yet  Buddhism,  especially  Lamaism, 
acquired  a  new  political  importance.  Both  for  the  Mings  and 
for  the  earlier  Manchu  Emperors  the  Mongols  were  a  serious 
and  perpetual  danger,  and  it  was  not  until  the  eighteenth 
century  that  the  Chinese  Court  ceased  to  be  preoccupied  by 
the  fear  that  the  tribes  might  unite  and  again  overrun  the 
Empire.  But  the  Tibetan  and  Mongolian  hierarchy  had  an 
extraordinary  power  over  these  wild  horsemen  and  the  Govern 
ment  of  Peking  won  and  used  their  goodwill  by  skilful  diplomacy, 
the  favours  shown  being  generally  commensurate  to  the  gravity 
of  the  situation.  Thus  when  the  Grand  Lama  visited  Peking  in 
1652  he  was  treated  as  an  independent  prince:  in  1908  he  was 
made  to  kneel. 

Few  Ming  Emperors  showed  much  personal  interest  in 
religion  and  most  of  them  were  obviously  guided  by  political 
considerations.  They  wished  on  the  one  hand  to  conciliate  the 
Church  and  on  the  other  to  prevent  the  clergy  from  becoming 
too  numerous  or  influential.  Hence  very  different  pictures  may 
be  drawn  according  as  we  dwell  on  the  favourable  or  restrictive 
edicts  which  were  published  from  time  to  time.  Thus  T'ai-Tsu, 
the  founder  of  the  dynasty,  is  described  by  one  authority  as 
always  sympathetic  to  Buddhists  and  by  another  as  a  crowned 
persecutor1.  He  had  been  a  bonze  himself  in  his  youth  but  left 
the  cloister  for  the  adventurous  career  which  conducted  him 
to  the  throne.  It  is  probable  that  he  had  an  affectionate  re 
collection  of  the  Church  which  once  sheltered  him,  but  also  a 
knowledge  of  its  weaknesses  and  this  knowledge  moved  him  to 
publish  restrictive  edicts  as  to  the  numbers  and  qualifications  of 
monks.  On  the  other  hand  he  attended  sermons,  received  monks 
in  audience  and  appointed  them  as  tutors  to  his  sons.  He  revised 
the  hierarchy  and  gave  appropriate  titles  to  its  various  grades. 
He  also  published  a  decree  ordering  that  all  monks  should  study 

1  See  Wieger,  Texte*  Historiques,  in.  p.  2013,  and  De  Groot,  Sectarianism  and 
Religious  Persecution  in  China,  I.  p.  82.  He  is  often  called  Hung  Wu  which  is  strictly 
speaking  the  title  of  his  reign.  He  was  certainly  capable  of  changing  his  mind,  for 
he  degraded  Mencius  from  his  position  in  Confucian  temples  one  year  and  restored 
him  the  next. 


three  sutras  (Lankavatara,  Prajnaparamita  and  Vajracchedika), 
and  that  three  brief  commentaries  on  these  works  should  be 
compiled  (see  Nanjio's  Catalogue,  1613-15). 

It  is  in  this  reign  that  we  first  hear  of  the  secular  clergy, 
that  is  to  say,  persons  who  acted  as  priests  but  married  and 
did  not  live  in  monasteries.  Decrees  against  them  were  issued 
in  1394  and  1412,  but  they  continued  to  increase.  It  is  not  clear 
whether  their  origin  should  be  sought  in  a  desire  to  combine  the 
profits  of  the  priesthood  with  the  comforts  of  the  world  or  in 
an  attempt  to  evade  restrictions  as  to  the  number  of  monks. 
In  later  times  this  second  motive  was  certainly  prevalent,  but 
the  celibacy  of  the  clergy  is  not  strictly  insisted  on  by  Lamaists 
and  a  lax  observance  of  monastic  rules1  was  common  under 
the  Mongol  dynasty. 

The  third  Ming  Emperor,  Ch'eng-tsu2,  was  educated  by  a 
Buddhist  priest  of  literary  tastes  named  Yao  Kuang-Hsiao3, 
whom  he  greatly  respected  and  promoted  to  high  office.  Never 
theless  he  enacted  restrictions  respecting  ordination  and  on  one 
occasion  commanded  that  1800  young  men  who  presented 
themselves  to  take  the  vows  should  be  enrolled  in  the  army 
instead.  His  prefaces  and  laudatory  verses  were  collected  in  a 
small  volume  and  included  in  the  eleventh  collection  of  the 
Tripitaka4,  called  the  Northern  collection,  because  it  was  printed 
at  Peking.  It  was  published  with  a  preface  of  his  own  composition 
and  he  wrote  another  to  the  work  called  the  Liturgy  of  Kuan- 
yin5,  and  a  third  introducing  selected  memoirs  of  various 
remarkable  monks6.  His  Empress  had  a  vision  in  which  she  im 
agined  a  sutra  was  revealed  to  her  and  published  the  same  with 
an  introduction.  He  was  also  conspicuously  favourable  to  the 
Tibetan  clergy.  In  1403  he  sent  his  head  eunuch  to  Tibet  to 
invite  the  presence  of  Tsoh-kha-pa,  who  refused  to  come  himself 

1  See  de  Mailla,  Histoire  de  la  Chine,  ix.  p.  470. 

2  Often  called  Yung-Lo  which  is  strictly  the  title  of  his  reign. 

4  See  Nanjio,  Cat.  1613-16. 

6  See  Beal,  Catena  of  Buddhist  Scriptures,  p.  398.  The  Emperor  says:  "So  we, 
the  Ruler  of  the  Empire... do  hereby  bring  before  men  a  mode  for  attaining  to  the 
condition  of  supreme  Wisdom.  We  therefore  earnestly  exhort  all  men... carefully 
to  study  the  directions  of  this  work  and  faithfully  to  follow  them." 

8  Nanjio,  Cat.  1620.  See  also  16.  1032  and  1657  for  the  Empress's  sutra. 

XLin]  CHINA  277 

but  sent  a  celebrated  Lama  called  Halima1.  On  arriving  at  the 
capital  Halima  was  ordered  to  say  masses  for  the  Emperor's 
relatives.  These  ceremonies  were  attended  by  supernatural 
manifestations  and  he  received  as  a  recognition  of  his  powers 
the  titles  of  Prince  of  the  Great  Precious  Law  and  Buddha  of 
the  Western  Paradise2.  His  three  principal  disciples  were  styled 
Kuo  Shih,  and,  agreeably  to  the  precedent  established  under 
the  Yuan  dynasty,  were  made  the  chief  prelates  of  the  whole 
Buddhist  Church.  Since  this  time  the  Red  or  Tibetan  Clergy 
have  been  recognized  as  having  precedence  over  the  Grey  or 

In  this  reign  the  Chinese  made  a  remarkable  attempt  to 
assert  their  authority  in  Ceylon.  In  1405  a  mission  was  sent 
with  offerings  to  the  Sacred  Tooth  and  when  it  was  ill  received 
a  second  mission  despatched  in  1407  captured  the  king  of 
Ceylon  and  carried  him  off  as  a  prisoner  to  China.  Ceylon  paid 
tribute  for  fifty  years,  but  it  does  not  appear  that  these  pro 
ceedings  had  much  importance  for  religion3. 

In  the  reigns  of  Ying  Tsung  and  Ching-Ti4  (1436-64) 
large  numbers  of  monks  were  ordained,  but,  as  on  previous 
occasions,  the  great  increase  of  candidates  led  to  the  imposition 
of  restrictions  and  in  1458  an  edict  was  issued  ordering  that 
ordinations  should  be  held  only  once  a  year.  The  influence  of 
the  Chief  Eunuchs  during  this  period  was  great,  and  two  suc 
cessive  holders  of  this  post,  Wang-Chen  and  Hsing-An5,  were 
both  devoted  Buddhists  and  induced  the  Emperors  whom  they 
served  to  expend  enormous  sums  on  building  monasteries  and 
performing  ceremonies  at  which  the  Imperial  Court  were 

1  Or  Kalima  El^y  \j   mk  m   In  Tibetan  Karma  de  bshin  gshegs-pa.    He  was  the 

fifth  head  of  the  Karma-pa  school.  See  Chandra  Das's  dictionary,  s.v.,  where  a 
reference  is  given  to  kLong-rdol-gsung-hbum.  It  is  noticeable  that  the  Karma-pa 
is  one  of  the  older  and  more  Tantric  sects. 

2  AW££3:>  BS^^^ltffif^-  YUan  Shih  K/ai  pfefixed  to 

this  latter  the  four  characters 

3  See  Yule,  Cathay  and  the  Way  Thither,  pp.  75  ff. 

4  When  Ying  Tsung  was  carried  away  by  the  Mongols  in  1449  his  brother 
Ching-Ti  was  made  Emperor.   Though  Ying  Tsung  was  sent  back  in  1450,  he  was 
not  able  to  oust  Ching-Ti  from  the  throne  till  1457. 


The  end  of  the  fifteenth  century  is  filled  by  two  reigns,  Hsien 
Tsung  and  Hsiao  Tsung.  The  former  fell  under  the  influence  of 
his  favourite  concubine  Wan  and  his  eunuchs  to  such  an  extent 
that,  in  the  latter  part  of  his  life,  he  ceased  to  see  his  ministers 
and  the  chief  eunuch  became  the  real  ruler  of  China.  It  is  also 
mentioned  both  in  1468  and  1483  that  he  was  in  the  hands  of 
Buddhist  priests  who  instructed  him  in  secret  doctrines  and 
received  the  title  of  Kuo-Shih  and  other  distinctions.  His  son 
Hsiao  Tsung  reformed  these  abuses:  the  Palace  was  cleansed: 
the  eunuchs  and  priests  were  driven  out  and  some  were  executed : 
Taoist  books  were  collected  and  burnt.  The  celebrated  writer 
Wang  Yang  Ming1  lived  in  this  reign.  He  defended  and  illus 
trated  the  doctrine  of  Lu  Chin-Yuan,  namely  that  truth  can 
be  obtained  by  meditation.  To  express  intuitive  knowledge, 
he  used  the  expression  Liang  Chih2  (taken  from  Mencius). 
Liang  Chih  is  inherent  in  all  human  minds,  but  in  different 
degrees,  and  can  be  developed  or  allowed  to  atrophy.  To  develop 
it  should  be  man's  constant  object,  and  in  its  light  when  pure 
all  things  are  understood  and  peace  is  obtained.  The  phrases  of 
the  Great  Learning  "to  complete  knowledge,"  "investigate 
things,"  and  "rest  in  the  highest  excellence,"  are  explained  as 
referring  to  the  Liang  Chih  and  the  contemplation  of  the  mind 
by  itself.  We  cannot  here  shut  our  eyes  to  the  influence  of 
Bodhidharma  and  his  school,  however  fervently  Wang  Yang 
Ming  may  have  appealed  to  the  Chinese  Classics. 

The  reign  of  Wu-tsung  (1506-21)  was  favourable  to 
Buddhism.  In  1507  40,000  men  became  monks,  either  Buddhist 
or  Taoist.  The  Emperor  is  said  to  have  been  learned  in 
Buddhist  literature  and  to  have  known  Sanskrit3  as  well  as 
Mongol  and  Arabic,  but  he  was  in  the  hands  of  a  band  of  eunuchs, 
who  were  known  as  the  eight  tigers.  In  1515  he  sent  an  embassy 
to  Tibet  with  the  object  of  inducing  the  Grand  Lama  to  visit 
Peking,  but  the  invitation  was  refused  and  the  Tibetans  expelled 
the  mission  with  force.  The  next  Emperor,  Shih-T'sung  (1522- 

His  real  name  was  Wang  Shou  Jen 

8  Though  the  ecclesiastical  study  of  Sanskrit  decayed  under  the  Ming  dynasty, 
Yung-lo  founded  in  1407  a  school  of  language  for  training  interpreters  at  which 
Sanskrit  was  taught  among  other  tongues. 


66),  inclined  to  Taoism  rather  than  Buddhism.  He  ordered  the 
images  of  Buddha  in  the  Forbidden  City  to  be  destroyed,  but 
still  appears  to  have  taken  part  in  Buddhist  ceremonies  at  dif 
ferent  periods  of  his  reign.  Wan  Li  (1573-1620),  celebrated  in 
the  annals  of  porcelain  manufacture,  showed  some  favour  to 
Buddhism.  He  repaired  many  buildings  at  P'u-t'o  and  dis 
tributed  copies  of  the  Tripitaka  to  the  monasteries  of  his  Empire. 
In  his  edicts  occurs  the  saying  that  Confucianism  and  Buddhism 
are  like  the  two  wings  of  a  bird  :  each  requires  the  co-operation 
of  the  other. 

European  missionaries  first  arrived  during  the  sixteenth 
century,  and,  had  the  Catholic  Church  been  more  flexible, 
China  might  perhaps  have  recognized  Christianity,  not  as  the 
only  true  religion  but  as  standing  on  the  same  footing  as 
Buddhism  and  Taoism.  The  polemics  of  the  early  missionaries 
imply  that  they  regarded  Buddhism  as  their  chief  rival.  Thus 
Ricci  had  a  public  controversy  with  a  bonze  at  Hang-Chou, 
and  his  principal  pupil  Hsu  Kuang-Ch'i1  wrote  a  tract  entitled 
"  The  errors  of  the  Buddhists  exposed."  Replies  to  these  attacks 
are  preserved  in  the  writings  of  the  distinguished  Buddhist 
priest  Shen  Chu-Hung2. 

In  1644  the  Ming  dynasty  collapsed  before  the  Manchus 
and  China  was  again  under  foreign  rule.  Unlike  the  Mongols, 
the  Manchus  had  little  inclination  to  Buddhism.  Even  before 
they  had  conquered  China,  their  prince,  T'ai  Tsung,  ordered 
an  inspection  of  monasteries  and  limited  the  number  of  monks. 
But  in  this  edict  he  inveighs  only  against  the  abuse  of  religion 
and  admits  that  "Buddha's  teaching  is  at  bottom  pure  and 
chaste,  true  and  sincere  :  by  serving  him  with  purity  and  piety, 
one  can  obtain  happiness3."  Shun-Chih,  the  first  Manchu 
Emperor,  wrote  some  prefaces  to  Buddhist  works  and  enter 
tained  the  Dalai  Lama  at  Peking  in  16524.  His  son  and  suc 
cessor,  commonly  known  as  K'ang-Hsi  (1662-1723),  dallied 
for  a  while  with  Christianity,  but  the  net  result  of  his  religious 
policy  was  to  secure  to  Confucianism  all  that  imperial  favour 
can  give.  I  have  mentioned  above  his  Sacred  Edict  and  the 

8  De  Groot,  I.e.  p.  93. 

4  Some  authorities  say  that  he  became  a  monk  before  he  died,  but  the  evidence 
is  not  good.    See  Johnston  in  New  China  Review,  Nos.  1  and  2,  1920. 


partial  favour  which  he  showed  to  Buddhism.  He  gave  donations 
to  the  monasteries  of  P'u-t'o,  Hang-chou  and  elsewhere:  he 
published  the  Kanjur  with  a  preface  of  his  own1  and  the  twelfth 
and  last  collection  of  the  Tripitaka  was  issued  under  the  auspices 
of  his  son  and  grandson.  The  latter,  the  Emperor  Ch'ien  Lung, 
also  received  the  Teshu  Lama  not  only  with  honour,  but  with 
interest  and  sympathy,  as  is  clear  from  the  inscription  pre 
served  at  Peking,  in  which  he  extols  the  Lama  as  a  teacher  of 
spiritual  religion2.  He  also  wrote  a  preface  to  a  sutra  for 
producing  rain3  in  which  he  says  that  he  has  ordered  the  old 
editions  to  be  carefully  corrected  and  prayer  and  worship  to  be 
offered,  "so  that  the  old  forms  which  have  been  so  beneficial 
during  former  ages  might  still  be  blessed  to  the  desired  end." 
Even  the  late  Empress  Dowager  accepted  the  ministrations  of 
the  present  Dalai  Lama  when  he  visited  Peking  in  1908,  al 
though,  to  his  great  indignation  she  obliged  him  to  kneel  at 
Court4.  Her  former  colleague,  the  Empress  Tzu-An  was  a 
devout  Buddhist.  The  statutes  of  the  Manchu  dynasty  (printed 
in  1818)  contain  regulations  for  the  celebration  of  Buddhist 
festivals  at  Court,  for  the  periodical  reading  of  sutras  to  promote 
the  imperial  welfare,  and  for  the  performance  of  funeral  rites. 

Still  on  the  whole  the  Manchu  dynasty  showed  less  favour  to 
Buddhism  than  any  which  preceded  it  and  its  restrictive  edicts 
limiting  the  number  of  monks  and  prescribing  conditions  for 
ordination  were  followed  by  no  periods  of  reaction.  But  the 
vitality  of  Buddhism  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  these  restrictions 
merely  led  to  an  increase  of  the  secular  clergy,  not  legally 
ordained,  who  in  their  turn  claimed  the  imperial  attention. 
Ch'ien  Lung  began  in  1735  by  giving  them  the  alternative  of 
becoming  ordinary  laymen  or  of  entering  a  monastery  but  this 
drastic  measure  was  considerably  modified  in  the  next  few 
years.  Ultimately  the  secular  clergy  were  allowed  to  continue 
as  such,  if  they  could  show  good  reason,  and  to  have  one  disciple 

1  See  T'oung  Poo,  1909,  p.  533. 

2  See  E.  Ludwig,  The  visit  of  the  Teshoo  Lama  to  Peking,  Tien  Tsin  Press,  1904. 

3  The  Ta-yiin-lung-ch'ing-yu-ching.    Nanjio's  Catalogue,  Nos.  187-8,  970,  and 
see  Beal,  Catena  of  Buddhist  Scriptures,  pp.  417-9. 

4  See  for  an  account  of  his  visit  "The  Dalai  Lamas  and  their  relations  with 
the  Manchu  Emperor  of  China"  in  T'oung  Pao,  1910,  p.  774. 


CHINA  (continued) 


THE  Buddhist  scriptures  extant  in  the  Chinese  language  are 
known  collectively  as  San  Tsang1  or  the  three  store -houses, 
that  is  to  say,  Tripitaka.  Though  this  usage  is  justified  by  both 
eastern  and  European  practice,  it  is  not  altogether  happy,  for 
the  Chinese  thesaurus  is  not  analogous  to  the  Pali  Canon  or  to 
any  collection  of  sacred  literature  known  in  India,  being  in 
spite  of  its  name  arranged  in  four,  not  in  three,  divisions.  It  is 
a  great  Corpus  Scriptorum  Sanctorum,  embracing  all  ages  and 
schools,  wherein  translations  of  the  most  diverse  Indian  works 
are  supplemented  by  original  compositions  in  Chinese.  Imagine 
a  library  comprising  Latin  translations  of  the  Old  and  New 
Testaments  with  copious  additions  from  the  Talmud  and 
Apocryphal  literature;  the  writings  of  the  Fathers,  decrees  of 
Councils  and  Popes,  together  with  the  opera  omnia  of  the 
principal  schoolmen  and  the  early  protestant  reformers  and  you 
will  have  some  idea  of  this  theological  miscellany  which  has  no 
claim  to  be  called  a  canon,  except  that  all  the  works  included 
have  at  some  time  or  other  received  a  certain  literary  or 
doctrinal  hall-mark. 


The  collection  is  described  in  the  catalogue  compiled  by 
Bunyiu  Nanjio2.  It  enumerates  1662  works  which  are  classified 
in  four  great  divisions,  (a)  Sutra,  (6)  Vinaya,  (c)  Abhidharma, 
(d)  Miscellaneous.  The  first  three  divisions  contain  translations 
only;  the  fourth  original  Chinese  works  as  well. 

The  first  division  called  Ching  or  Sutras  amounts  to  nearly 
two -thirds  of  the  whole,  for  it  comprises  no  less  than  1081 

1  •"•"*  JJ8-.    For  an  account  of   some  of  the  scriptures  here  mentioned  see 
chap.  xx. 

2  A  catalogue  of  the  Chinese  Translation  of  the  Buddhist  Tripitaka.   Oxford, 
Clarendon  Press,  1893.  An  index  to  the  Tokyo  edition  has  been  published  by  Fujii. 
Meiji  xxxi  (1898).     See  too  Forke,  Katalog  des  Pekinger  Tripitaka,  1916. 


works  and  is  subdivided  as  follows:  (a)  Mahayana  Sutras,  541, 
(6)  Hinayana  Sutras,  240,  (c)  Mahayana  and  Hinayana  Sutras, 
300  in  number,  admitted  into  the  canon  under  the  Sung  and 
Yuan  dynasties,  A.D.  960-1368.  Thus  whereas  the  first  two  sub 
divisions  differ  in  doctrine,  the  third  is  a  supplement  containing 
later  translations  of  both  schools.  The  second  subdivision,  or 
Hinayana  Sutras,  which  is  less  numerous  and  complicated  than 
that  containing  the  Mahayana  Sutras,  shows  clearly  the  char 
acter  of  the  whole  collection.  It  is  divided  into  two  classes 
of  which  the  first  is  called  A-han,  that  is,  Agama1.  This  com 
prises  translations  of  four  works  analogous  to  the  Pali  Nikayas, 
though  not  identical  with  the  texts  which  we  possess,  and  also 
numerous  alternative  translations  of  detached  sutras.  All  four 
were  translated  about  the  beginning  of  the  fifth  century  whereas 
the  translations  of  detached  sutras  are  for  the  most  part  earlier. 
This  class  also  contains  the  celebrated  Sutra  of  Forty-two 
Sections,  and  works  like  the  Jataka-nidana.  The  second  class 
is  styled  Sutras  of  one  translation2.  The  title  is  not  used  rigor 
ously,  but  the  works  bearing  it  are  relatively  obscure  and  it  is 
not  always  clear  to  what  Sanskrit  texts  they  correspond.  It 
will  be  seen  from  the  above  that  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  is  a 
literary  and  bibliographical  collection  rather  than  an  ecclesi 
astical  canon.  It  does  not  provide  an  authorized  version  for  the 
edification  of  the  faithful,  but  it  presents  for  the  use  of  the 
learned  all  translations  of  Indian  works  belonging  to  a  particular 
class  which  possess  a  certain  age  and  authority. 

The  same  characteristic  marks  the  much  richer  collection 
of  Mahayana  Sutras,  which  contains  the  works  most  esteemed 
by  Chinese  Buddhists.  It  is  divided  into  seven  classes : 

1.  Jffcjg1.  Pan-jo  (Po-jo)  or  Prajnaparamita3. 

2.  §|f  f||  .  Pao-chi  or  Ratnakuta. 

3.  ;^C^j|.  Ta-chi  or  Mahasannipata. 

4.  I|EJ||.  Hua-yen  or  Avatamsaka. 

2  Tan-i-ching  j&  j-j-Eat^  .   Some  of  the  works  classed  under  Tan-i-ching  appear 
to  exist  in  more  than  one  form,  e.g.  Nanjio,  Nos.  674  and  804. 

3  These  characters  are  commonly  read  Pojo  by  Chinese  Buddhists  but  the 
Japanese  reading  Hannya  shows  that  the  pronunciation  of  the  first  character  was  Pan. 

XLIV]  CHINA  283 

5.    y£Jg».    Nieh-pan  or  Parinirvana. 

I—  I—.x'px. 

6-   3L^§P^lS1iS$?.    Sutras  in  more  than  one  trans- 

^••*  r     ^  H  |    ^     |    -^r-i  *^  M  T       »  -•  * 

lation  but  not  falling  into  any  of  the  above  five 

1'   iptl^MS?-    Other  sutras  existing  in  only  one  trans 

Each  of  the  first  five  classes  probably  represents  a  collection 
of  sutras  analogous  to  a  Nikaya  and  in  one  sense  a  single  work 
but  translated  into  Chinese  several  times,  both  in  a  complete 
form  and  in  extracts.  Thus  the  first  class  opens  with  the  majestic 
Mahaprajnaparamita  in  600  fasciculi  and  equivalent  to  200,000 
stanzas  in  Sanskrit.  This  is  followed  by  several  translations  of 
shorter  versions  including  two  of  the  little  sutras  called  the 
Heart  of  the  Prajnaparamita,  which  fills  only  one  leaf.  There  are 
also  six  translations  of  the  celebrated  work  known  as  the 
Diamond-cutter1,  which  is  the  ninth  sutra  in  the  Mahaprajna 
paramita  and  all  the  works  classed  under  the  heading  Pan-  jo 
seem  to  be  alternative  versions  of  parts  of  this  great  Corpus. 

The  second  and  third  classes  are  collections  of  sutras  which 
no  longer  exist  as  collections  in  Sanskrit,  though  the  Sanskrit 
text  of  some  individual  sutras  is  extant.  That  called  Pao-chi 
or  Ratnakuta  opens  with  a  collection  of  forty  -nine  sutras  which 
includes  the  longer  version  of  the  Sukhavativyuha.  This 
collection  is  reckoned  as  one  work,  but  the  other  items  in  the 
same  class  are  all  or  nearly  all  of  them  duplicate  translations  of 
separate  sutras  contained  in  it.  This  is  probably  true  of  the 
third  class  also.  At  least  seven  of  the  works  included  in  it  are 
duplicate  translations  of  the  first,  which  is  called  Mahasannipata, 
and  the  sutras  called  Candragarbha,  Kshitig.,  Sumerug.,  and 
Akasag.,  appear  to  be  merely  sections,  not  separate  composi 
tions,  although  this  is  not  clear  from  the  remarks  of  Nanjio 
and  Wassiljew. 

The  principal  works  in  class  4  are  two  translations,  one 
fuller  than  the  other,  of  the  Hua-yen  or  Avatamsaka  Sutra2, 
still  one  of  the  most  widely  read  among  Buddhist  works,  and 
at  least  sixteen  of  the  other  items  are  duplicate  renderings  of 

1  Vajracchedika  or  |    Chin  Rang. 

2  Winternitz  (Gesch.  Ind.  Lit.  n.  i.  p.  242)  states  on  the  authority  of  Takakusu 
that  this  work  is  the  same  as  the  Ganclavyuha.   See  also  Pelliot  in  J.A.  1914,  11. 
pp.  118-21.  The  Gandavyuha  is  probably  an  extract  of  the  Avatamsaka. 

E.  in.  1  g 


parts  of  it.  Class  5  consists  of  thirteen  works  dealing  with 
the  death  of  the  Buddha  and  his  last  discourses.  The  first 
sutra,  sometimes  called  the  northern  text,  is  imperfect  and 
was  revised  at  Nanking  in  the  form  of  the  southern  text1.  There 
are  two  other  incomplete  versions  of  the  same  text.  To  judge 
from  a  specimen  translated  by  Beal2  it  is  a  collection  of  late 
discourses  influenced  by  Vishnuism  and  does  not  correspond 
to  the  Mahaparinibbanasutta  of  the  Pali  Canon. 

Class  6  consists  of  sutras  which  exist  in  several  translations, 
but  still  do  not,  like  the  works  just  mentioned,  form  small 
libraries  in  themselves.  It  comprises,  however,  several  books 
highly  esteemed  and  historically  important,  such  as  the 
Saddharmapundarika  (six  translations),  the  Suvarnaprabhasa, 
the  Lalitavistara,  the  Lankavatara,  and  the  Shorter  Sukha- 
vativyuha3,  all  extant  in  three  translations.  In  it  are  also 
included  many  short  tracts,  the  originals  of  which  are  not 
known.  Some  of  them  are  Jatakas,  but  many4  deal  with  the 
ritual  of  image  worship  or  with  spells.  These  characteristics  are 
still  more  prominent  in  the  seventh  class,  consisting  of  sutras 
which  exist  in  a  single  translation  only.  The  best  known  among 
them  are  the  Surangama  and  the  Mahavairocana  (Ta-jih-ching), 
which  is  the  chief  text  of  the  Shin-gon  or  Mantra  School5. 

The  Lu-tsang  or  Vinaya-pitaka  is  divided  into  Mahayana 
and  Hinayana  texts,  neither  very  numerous.  Many  of  the 
Mahayana  texts  profess  to  be  revelations  by  Maitreya  and  are 
extracts  of  the  Yogacaryabhumisastra6  or  similar  to  it.  For 
practical  purposes  the  most  important  is  the  Fan-wang-ching7 
or  net  of  Brahma.  The  Indian  original  of  this  work  is  not  known, 
but  since  the  eighth  century  it  has  been  accepted  in  China  as 
the  standard  manual  for  the  monastic  life8. 

1  Nos. 

2  Catena  of  Buddhist  Scriptures,  pp.  160  ff. 

3  The  longer  Sukhavativyuha  is  placed  in  the  Ratnakuta  class. 

4  The  Sutra  of  Kuan-yin  with  the  thousand  hands  and  eyes  is  very  popular 
and  used  in  most  temples.  Nanjio,  No.  320. 

•  No.  399  Jf*  $gl||  and  530  ^  [J  $g  . 

6  Said  to  have  been  revealed  to  Asanga  by  Maitreya.  No.  1170. 

7  $fc$B$3?'    No'  1087'   Jt  has  notning  to  do  with  the  Pali  Sutra  of  the  same 
name.  Digha,  I. 

8  See  below  for  an  account  of  it. 

XLIV]  CHINA  285 

The  Hinayana  Vinaya  comprises  five  very  substantial 
recensions  of  the  whole  code,  besides  extracts,  compendiums, 
and  manuals.  The  five  recensions  are:  (a)  Shih-sung-lii  in  sixty- 
five  fasciculi,  translated  in  A.D.  404.  This  is  said  to  be  a  Vinaya 
of  the  Sarvastivadins,  but  I-Ching1  expressly  says  that  it  does 
not  belong  to  the  Mulasarvastivadin  school,  though  not  unlike 
it.  (b)  The  Vinaya  of  this  latter  translated  by  I-Ching  who 
brought  it  from  India,  (c)  Shih-fen-lu-tsang  in  sixty  fasciculi, 
translated  in  405  and  said  to  represent  the  Dharmagupta 
school,  (d)  The  Mi-sha-so  Wu-fen  Lii  or  Vinaya  of  the  Mahi- 
6asakas,  said  to  be  similar  to  the  Pali  Vinaya,  though  not 
identical  with  it2,  (e)  Mo-ko-seng-chi  Lii  or  Mahasanghika 
Vinaya  brought  from  India  by  Fa-Hsien  and  translated  416  A.D. 
It  is  noticeable  that  all  five  recensions  are  classed  as  Hinayanist, 
although  (b)  is  said  to  be  the  Vinaya  used  by  the  Tibetan  Church. 
Although  Chinese  Buddhists  frequently  speak  of  the  five-fold 
Vinaya3,  this  expression  does  not  refer  to  these  five  texts,  as 
might  be  supposed,  and  I-Ching  condemns  it,  saying  that4  the 
real  number  of  divisions  is  four. 

The  Abhidharma-Pitaka  or  Lun-tsang  is,  like  the  Sutra 
Pitaka,  divided  into  Mahayanist  and  Hinayanist  texts  and 
texts  of  both  schools  admitted  into  the  Canon  after  960  A.D. 
The  Mahayanist  texts  have  no  connection  with  the  Pali  Canon 
and  their  Sanskrit  titles  do  not  contain  the  word  Abhidharma1. 
They  are  philosophical  treatises  ascribed  to  Asvaghosha, 
Nagarjuna,  Asanga,  Vasubandhu  and  others,  including  three 
works  supposed  to  have  been  revealed  by  Maitreya  to  Asanga5. 
The  principal  of  these  is  the  Yogacarya-bhumisastra,  a  scripture 
of  capital  importance  for  the  Yogacarya  school.  It  describes 
the  career  of  a  Bodhisattva  and  hence  parts  of  it  are  treated  as 
belonging  to  the  Vinaya.  Among  other  important  works  in 
this  section  may  be  mentioned  the  Madhyamaka  Sastra  of 

1  Record  of  Buddhist  Practices,  p.  20. 

2  See  Oldenberg,  Vinaya,  vol.  i.  pp.  xxiv-xlvi. 

8  See  Watters,  Yuan  Chicang,  I.  p.  227.  The  five  schools  are  given  as  Dharma 
gupta,  Mahis'asika,  Sarvastivadin,  Ka'syapiya  and  Mahasaughika.  For  the  last 
Vatsiputra  or  Sthavira  is  sometimes  substituted. 

4  Record  of  Buddhist  Practices,  p.  8. 

6  The  Chinese  word  lun  occurs  frequently  in  them,  but  though  it  is  used  to 
translate  Abhidharma,  it  is  of  much  wider  application  and  means  discussion  of 

6  See  Watters,  Yuan  Chwang,  I,  pp.  355  ff. 


Nagarjuna,  the  Mahay anasutralankara  of  Asanga,  and  the 
Awakening  of  Faith  ascribed  to  Asvaghosha1. 

The  Hinayana  texts  also  show  no  correspondence  with  the 
Pali  Pitaka  but  are  based  on  the  Abhidharma  works  of  the 
Sarvastivadin  school2.  These  are  seven  in  number,  namely  the 
Jnanaprasthanasastra  of  Katyayaniputra  with  six  accessory 
treatises  or  Padas3.  The  Mahavibhashasastra,  or  commentary 
on  the  Jnanaprasthana,  and  the  Abhidharmakosa4  are  also  in 
this  section. 

The  third  division  of  the  Abhidharma  is  of  little  importance 
but  contains  two  curious  items:  a  manual  of  Buddhist  ter 
minology  composed  as  late  as  1272  by  Pagspa  for  the  use  of 
Khubilai's  son  and  the  Sankhyakarikabhashya,  which  is  not 
a  Buddhist  work  but  a  compendium  of  Sankhya  philosophy5. 

The  fourth  division  of  the  whole  collection  consists  of 
miscellaneous  works,  partly  translated  from  Sanskrit  and  partly 
composed  in  Chinese.  Many  of  the  Indian  works  appear  from 
their  title  not  to  differ  much  from  the  later  Mahayana  Sutras, 
but  it  is  rather  surprising  to  find  in  this  section  four  translations6 
of  the  Dharmapada  (or  at  least  of  some  similar  anthology)  which 
are  thus  placed  outside  the  Sutra  Pitaka.  Among  the  works 
professing  to  be  translated  from  Sanskrit  are  a  History  of  the 
Patriarchs,  the  Buddhacarita  of  Asvaghosha,  a  work  similar 
to  the  Questions  of  King  Milinda,  Lives  of  Asvaghosha, 
Nagarjuna,  Vasubandhu  and  others  and  the  Suhrillekha  or 
Friendly  Epistle  ascribed  to  Nagarjuna. 

The  Chinese  works  included  in  this  Tripitaka  consist  of 
nearly  two  hundred  books,  historical,  critical,  controversial  and 
homiletic,  composed  by  one  hundred  and  two  authors.  Excluding 
late  treatises  on  ceremonial  and  doctrine,  the  more  interesting 
may  be  classified  as  follows : 

(a)  Historical. — Besides  general  histories  of  Buddhism,  there 

1  Nos.  1179,  1190,  1249. 

2  For  a  discussion  of  this  literature  see  Takakusu  on  the  Abhidharma  Literature 
of  the  Sarvastivadins,  J.  Pali  Text  Society,  1905,  pp.  67  ff. 

8  Nanjio,  Cat.  Nos.  1273,  1275,  1276,  1277,  1292,  1281,  1282,  1296, 1317.  This 
last  work  was  not  translated  till  the  eleventh  century. 

4  Nanjio,  Cat.  Nos.  1263,  1267  and  1269. 

5  See  Takakusu's  study  of  these  translations  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  1  ff.  and 
pp.  978  ff. 

6  Nanjio,  Cat.  Nos.  1321,  1353,  1365,  1439. 

xuv]  CHINA  287 

are  several  collections  of  ecclesiastical  biography.  The  first  is 
the  Kao-seng-chuan1,  or  Memoirs  of  eminent  Monks  (not, 
however,  excluding  laymen),  giving  the  lives  of  about  five 
hundred  worthies  who  lived  between  67  and  519  A.D.  The  series 
is  continued  in  other  works  dealing  with  the  T'ang  and  Sung 
dynasties.  For  the  Contemplative  School  there  are  further 
supplements  carrying  the  record  on  to  the  Yuan.  There  are  also 
several  histories  of  the  Chinese  patriarchs.  Of  these  the  latest 
and  therefore  most  complete  is  the  Fo-tsu-t'ung-chi2  composed 
about  1270  by  Chih  P'an  of  the  T'ien-T'ai  school.  The  Ching- 
te-ch'uan-teng-lu3  and  other  treatises  give  the  succession  of 
patriarchs  according  to  the  Contemplative  School.  Among 
historical  works  may  be  reckoned  the  travels  of  various  pilgrims 
who  visited  India. 

(b)  Critical.  —  There  are  thirteen  catalogues  of  the  Tripitaka 
as.  it  existed  at  different  periods.    Several  of  them  contain 
biographical  accounts  of  the  translators  and  other  notes.  The 
work  called  Chen-cheng-lun  criticizes  several  false  sutras  and 
names.  There  are  also  several  encyclopaedic  works  containing 
extracts  from  the  Tripitaka,  arranged  according  to  subjects, 
such  as  the  Fa-yuan-chu-lin4  in  100  volumes;  concordances  of 
numerical   categories    and    a    dictionary   of    Sanskrit    terms, 
Fan-i-ming-i-chi5,  composed  in  1151. 

(c)  The  literature  of  several  Chinese  sects  is  well  repre 
sented.  Thus  there  are  more  than  sixty  works  belonging  to 
the  T'ien  T'ai  school  beginning  with  the  San-ta-pu  or  three 
great  books  attributed  to  the  founder  and  ending  with  the 
ecclesiastical  history  of  Chih-p'an,  written  about  1270.    The 
Hua-yen  school  is  represented  by  the  writings  of  four  patriarchs 
and  five  monks:  the  Lli  or  Vinaya  school  by  eight  works  at 
tributed  to  its  founder,  and  the  Contemplative  School  by  a 
sutra  ascribed  to  Hui-neng,  the  sixth  patriarch,  by  works  on 
the  history  of  the  Patriarchs  and  by  several  collections  of 
sayings  or  short  compositions. 


-    No.  1661.    For  more  about  the  Patriarchs  see 
the  next  chapter. 

3  !^     •  No-  1524>  written  A-D-  1006- 

G  -  N°-  164°- 


(d)  Controversial.  —  Under  this  heading  may  be  mentioned 
polemics  against  Taoism,  including  two  collections  of  the  con 
troversies  which  took  place  between  Buddhists  and  Taoists 
from  A.D.  71  till  A.D.  730:  replies  to  the  attacks  made  against 
Buddhism  by  Confucian  scholars  and  refutations  of  the  objec 
tions  raised  by  sceptics  or  heretics  such  as  the  Che-i-lun  and 
the  Yiian-jen-lun,  or  Origin  of  man1.  This  latter  is  a  well-known 
text-book  written  by  the  fifth  Patriarch  of  the  Hua-yen  school 
and  while  criticizing  Confucianism,  Taoism,  and  the  Hinayana, 
treats  them  as  imperfect  rather  than  as  wholly  erroneous2.  Still 
more  conciliatory  is  the  Treatise  on  the  three  religions  com 
posed  by  Liu  Mi  of  the  Yuan  dynasty3,  which  asserts  that  all 
three  deserve  respect  as  teaching  the  practice  of  virtue.  It 
attacks,  however,  anti-Buddhist  Confucianists  such  as  Han-Yii 
and  Chu-Hsi. 

The  Chinese  section  contains  three  compositions  attributed 
to  imperial  personages  of  the  Ming,  viz.,  a  collection  of  the 
prefaces  and  laudatory  verses  written  by  the  Emperor  T'ai- 
Tsung,  the  Shen-Seng-Chuan  or  memoirs  of  remarkable  monks 
with  a  preface  by  the  Emperor  Ch'eng-tsu,  and  a  curious  book 
by  his  consort  the  Empress  Jen-Hsiao,  introducing  a  sutra  which 
Her  Majesty  states  was  miraculously  revealed  to  her  on  New 
Year's  day,  1398  (see  Nanjio,  No.  1657). 

Though  the  Hindus  were  careful  students  and  guardians  of 
their  sacred  works,  their  temperament  did  not  dispose  them  to 
define  and  limit  the  scriptures.  But,  as  I  have  mentioned  above4, 
there  is  some  evidence  that  there  was  a  loose  Mahayanist  canon 
in  India  which  was  the  origin  of  the  arrangement  found  in  the 
Chinese  Tripitaka,  in  so  far  as  it  (1)  accepted  Hinayanist  as 
well  as  Mahayanist  works,  and  (2)  included  a  great  number  of 
relatively  late  sutras,  arranged  in  classes  such  as  Prajnaparamita 
and  Mahasannipata. 


The  Tripitaka  analyzed  by  Nanjio,  which  contains  works 
assigned  to  dates  ranging  from  67  to  1622A.D.,  is  merely  the 

.  Nos-  1634  and  1594- 

2  See  for  some  account  of  it  Masson-Oursel's  article  in  J.A.  1915,  i.  pp.  229-354. 

*  See  chap,  xx  on  the  Mahayanist  canon  in  India. 

XLIV]  CHINA  289 

best  known  survivor  among  several  similar  thesauri1.  From 
518  A.  D.  onwards  twelve  collections  of  sacred  literature  were 
made  by  imperial  order  and  many  of  these  were  published  in 
more  than  one  edition.  The  validity  of  this  Canon  depends 
entirely  on  imperial  authority,  but,  though  Emperors  occasion 
ally  inserted  the  works  of  writers  whom  they  esteemed2,  it  does 
not  appear  that  they  aimed  at  anything  but  completeness  nor 
did  they  favour  any  school.  The  Buddhist  Church,  like  every 
other  department  of  the  Empire,  received  from  them  its  share 
of  protection  and  supervision  and  its  claims  were  sufficient  to 
induce  the  founder,  or  at  least  an  early  Sovereign,  of  every 
important  dynasty  to  publish  under  his  patronage  a  revised 
collection  of  the  scriptures.  The  list  of  these  collections  is  as 
follows3  : 

1.  A.D.    518  in  the  time  of  Wu-Ti,  founder  of  the  Liang. 

2.  „       533-4  Hsiao-Wu  of  the  Northern  Wei. 

Wan-ti,  founder  of  the  Sui. 

5.  „  605-16  Yang-Ti  of  the  Sui. 

6.  „  695  the  Empress  Wu  of  the  T'ang. 

7.  „  730  Hsiian-Tsung  of  the  T'ang. 

8.  „  971  T'ai-Tsu,  founder  of  the  Sung. 

9.  „  1285-7  Khubilai  Khan,  founder  of  the  Yuan. 

10.  „  1368-98  Hung-Wu,  founder  of  the  Ming. 

11.  „  1403-24  Yung-Lo  of  the  Ming. 

12.  „  1735-7  Yung-Chingand  Ch'ien-Lung  of  the  Ch'ing4. 

Of  these  collections,  the  first  seven  were  in  MS.  only:  the 
last  five  were  printed.  The  last  three  appear  to  be  substantially 
the  same.  The  tenth  and  eleventh  collections  are  known  as 

1  It  is  described  at  the  beginning  as  Ta  Ming  San  Tsang,  but  strictly  speaking 
it  must  be  No.  12  of  the  Hat,  as  it  contains  a  work  said  to  have  been  written  about 
1622  A.D.  (p.  468). 

2  Thus  the  Emperor  Jen  Tsung  ordered  the  works  of  Ch'i  Sung  ^2pJ  to  be 
admitted  to  the  Canton  in  1062. 

8  Taken  from  Nanjio's  Catalogue,  p.  xxvii. 

4  Ch'ien-Lung  is  said  to  have  printed  the  Tripitaka  in  four  languages,  Chinese, 
Tibetan,  Mongol  and  Manchu,  the  whole  collection  filling  1392  vols.  See  Mollendorf 
in  China  Branch,  J.A.S.  xxiv.  1890,  p.  28. 


southern  and  northern1,  because  they  were  printed  at  Nanking 
and  Peking  respectively.  They  differ  only  in  the  number  of 
Chinese  works  admitted  and  similarly  the  twelfth  collection 
is  merely  a  revision  of  the  tenth  with  the  addition  of  fifty  -four 
Chinese  works. 

As  mentioned,  the  Tripitaka  contains  thirteen  catalogues  of 
the  Buddhist  scriptures  as  known  at  different  dates2.  Of  these  the 
most  important  are  (a)  the  earliest  published  between  506  and 
512  A.D.,  (6)  three  published  under  the  T'ang  dynasty  and  known 
as  Nei-tien-lu,  T'u-chi  (both  about  664  A.D.),  and  K'ai-yiian-lu 
(about  720  A.D.),  (c)  Chih-Yiian-lu  or  catalogue  of  Yuan  dynasty, 
about  1285,  which,  besides  enumerating  the  Chinese  titles, 
transliterates  the  Sanskrit  titles  and  states  whether  the  Indian 
works  translated  are  also  translated  into  Tibetan,  (d)  The 
catalogue  of  the  first  Ming  collection. 

The  later  collections  contain  new  material  and  differ  from 
the  earlier  by  natural  accretion,  for  a  great  number  of  transla 
tions  were  produced  under  the  T'ang  and  Sung.  Thus  the 
seventh  catalogue  (695  A.D.)  records  that  859  new  works  were 
admitted  to  the  Canon.  But  this  expansion  was  accompanied 
by  a  critical  and  sifting  process,  so  that  whereas  the  first  col 
lection  contained  2213  works,  the  Ming  edition  contains  only 
1622.  This  compression  means  not  that  works  of  importance 
wrere  rejected  as  heretical  or  apocryphal,  for,  as  we  have  seen, 
the  Tripitaka  is  most  catholic,  but  that  whereas  the  earlier 
collections  admitted  multitudinous  extracts  or  partial  trans 
lations  of  Indian  works,  many  of  these  were  discarded  when 
complete  versions  had  been  made. 

Nanjio  considers  that  of  the  2213  works  contained  in  the 
first  collection  only  276  are  extant.  Although  the  catalogues 
are  preserved,  all  the  earlier  collections  are  lost:  copies  of  the 

1  But  according  to  another  statement  the  southern  recension  was  not  the 
imperial  collection  begun  in  1368  but  a  private  edition  now  lost.    See  Nanjio, 
Cat.  p.  xxiii. 

2  See  for  the  complete  list  Nanjio,  Cat.  p.  xxvii.     Those  named  above  are 

7Ki  Nos-  1483>  1485>  1487>  and  (6)      7C 

^?  No.  1612.  For  the  date  of  the  first  see  Maspero  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1910,  p.  114. 
There  was  a  still  earlier  catalogue  composed  by  Tao-an  in  374  of  which  only 
fragments  have  been  preserved.  See  Pelliot  in  T'oung  Poo,  xix.  1920,  p.  258. 

xuv]  CHINA  291 

eighth  and  ninth  were  preserved  in  the  Z6-jo-ji  Library  of  Tokyo1 
and  Chinese  and  Japanese  editions  of  the  tenth,  eleventh  and 
twelfth  are  current.  So  far  as  one  can  judge,  when  the  eighth 
catalogue,  or  K'ai-yuan-lu,  was  composed  (between  713  and 
741),  the  older  and  major  part  of  the  Canon  had  been  definitively 
fixed  and  the  later  collections  merely  add  the  translations  made 
by  Amogha,  and  by  writers  of  the  Sung  and  Yiian  dynasties. 

The  editions  of  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  must  be  distinguished 
from  the  collections,  for  by  editions  are  meant  the  forms  in 
which  each  collection  was  published,  the  text  being  or  purporting 
to  be  the  same  in  all  the  editions  of  each  collection.  It  is  said2 
that  under  the  Sung  and  Yiian  twenty  different  editions  were 
produced.  These  earlier  issues  were  printed  on  long  folding  sheets 
and  a  nun  called  Fa-chen3  is  said  to  have  first  published  an 
edition  in  the  shape  of  ordinary  Chinese  books.  In  1586  a  monk 
named  Mi-Tsang4  imitated  this  procedure  and  his  edition  was 
widely  used.  About  a  century  later  a  Japanese  priest  known  as 
Tetsu-yen5  reproduced  it  and  his  publication,  which  is  not 
uncommon  in  Japan,  is  usually  called  the  0-baku  edition. 
There  are  two  modern  Japanese  editions:  (a)  that  of  Tokyo, 
begun  in  1880,  based  on  a  Korean  edition6  with  various  readings 
taken  from  other  Chinese  editions.  (6)  That  of  Kyoto,  1905, 
which  is  a  reprint  of  the  Ming  collection7.  A  Chinese  edition 
has  been  published  at  Shanghai  (1913)  at  the  expense  of 
Mrs  Hardoon,  a  Chinese  lady  well  known  as  a  munificent  patron 
of  the  faith,  and  I  believe  another  at  Nanking,  but  I  do  not 
know  if  it  is  complete  or  not8. 

1  For  the  Korean  copy  now  in  Japan,  see  Courant,  Bibliographic  cordenne, 
vol.  in.  pp.  215-19. 

2  See  Nanjio,  Cat.  p.  xxii. 

•  %&-          •  mm- 

6  Also  called  Do-ko. 

8  The  earlier  collections  of  the  Tripitaka  seem  to  have  been  known  in  Korea 
and  about  1000  A.D.  the  king  procured  from  China  a  copy  of  the  Imperial  Edition, 
presumably  the  eighth  collection  (971  A.D.)-  He  then  ordered  a  commission  of 
scholars  to  revise  the  text  and  publish  an  edition  of  his  own.  The  copy  of  this  edition, 
on  which  the  recent  Tokyo  edition  was  founded,  was  brought  to  Japan  in  the 
Bun-mei  period  1469-1486. 

7  A  supplement  to  the  Tripitaka  containing  non-canonical  works  in  750  volumes 
(Dai  Nippon  Zoku-Zokyo)  was  published  in  1911. 

8  The  Peking  Tripitaka  catalogued  by  Forke  appears  to  be  a  set  of  1223  works 
represented  by  copies  taken  from  four  editions  published  in  1578,  1592,  1598  and 
1735  A.D.,  all  of  which  are  editions  of  the  collections  numbered  11  and  12  above. 


The  translations  contained  in  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  belong 
to  several  periods1.  In  the  earliest,  which  extends  to  the  middle 
of  the  fourth  century,  the  works  produced  were  chiefly  renderings 
of  detached  sutras2.  Few  treatises  classified  as  Vinaya  or 
Abhidharma  were  translated  and  those  few  are  mostly  extracts 
or  compilations.  The  sutras  belong  to  both  the  Hina  and 
Mahayana.  The  earliest  extant  translation  or  rather  compilation, 
the  Sutra  of  Forty-two  sections,  belongs  to  the  former  school, 
and  so  do  the  majority  of  the  translations  made  by  An-Shih-Kao 
(148-170  A.D.),  but  from  the  second  century  onwards  the 
Prajnaparamita  and  Amitabha  Sutras  make  their  appearance3. 
Many  of  the  translations  made  in  this  period  are  described  as 
incomplete  or  incorrect  and  the  fact  that  most  of  them  were 
superseded  or  supplemented  by  later  versions  shows  that  the 
Chinese  recognized  their  provisional  character.  Future  re 
search  will  probably  show  that  many  of  them  are  paraphrases 
or  compendiums  rather  than  translations  in  our  sense. 

The  next  period,  roughly  speaking  375-745  A.D.,  was  extra 
ordinarily  prolific  in  extensive  and  authoritative  translations. 
The  translators  now  attack  not  detached  chapters  or  discourses 
but  the  great  monuments  of  Indian  Buddhist  literature.  Though 
it  is  not  easy  to  make  any  chronological  bisection  in  this  period, 
there  is  a  clear  difference  in  the  work  done  at  the  beginning  and 
at  the  end  of  it.  From  the  end  of  the  fourth  century  onwards 
a  desire  to  have  complete  translations  of  the  great  canonical 
works  is  apparent.  Between  385  and  445  A.D.  were  translated 
the  four  Agamas,  analogous  to  the  Nikayas  of  the  Pali  Canon, 
three  great  collections  of  the  Vinaya,  and  the  principal  scrip 
tures  of  the  Abhidharma  according  to  the  Sarvastivadin  school. 
For  the  Mahayana  were  translated  the  great  sutras  known  as 
Avatamsaka,  Lankavatara,  and  many  others,  as  well  as  works 

1  For  two  interesting  lives  of  translators  see  the  T'oung  Pao,  1909,  p.  199,  and 
1905,  p.  332,  where  will  be  found  the  biographies  of  Seng  Hui,  a  Sogdian  who  died 
in  280  and  Jinagupta  a  native  of  Gandhara  (528-605). 

2  But  between  266  and  313  Dharmaraksha  translated  the  Saddharmapundarika 
(including  the  additional  chapters  21-26)  and  the  Lalitavistara.    His  translation  of 
the  Prajnaparamita  is  incomplete. 

3  In  the  translations  of  Lokakshi  147-186,  Chih-Ch'ien  223-243,  Dharmaraksha 

XLIV]  CHINA  293 

ascribed  to  Asvaghosha  and  Nagarjuna.  After  645  A.D.  a  further 
development  of  the  critical  spirit  is  perceptible,  especially  in 
the  labours  of  Hsiian  Chuang  and  I-Ching.  They  attempt  to 
give  the  religious  public  not  only  complete  works  in  place  of 
extracts  and  compendiums,  but  also  to  select  the  most  authori 
tative  texts  among  the  many  current  in  India.  Thus,  though 
many  translations  had  appeared  under  the  name  of  Prajna- 
paramita,  Hsiian  Chuang  filled  600  fasciculi  with  a  new  rendering 
of  the  gigantic  treatise.  I-Ching  supplemented  the  already 
bulky  library  of  Vinaya  works  with  versions  of  the  Mulasar- 
vastivadin  recension  and  many  auxiliary  texts. 

Amogha  (Pu-K'ung)  whose  literary  labours  extended  from 
746  to  774  A.D.  is  a  convenient  figure  to  mark  the  beginning  of 
the  next  and  last  period,  although  some  of  its  characteristics 
appear  a  little  earlier.  They  are  that  no  more  translations  are 
made  from  the  great  Buddhist  classics — partly  no  doubt 
because  they  had  all  been  translated  already,  well  or  ill — but 
that  renderings  of  works  described  as  Dharani  or  Tantra  pullu 
late  and  multiply.  Though  this  literature  deserves  such  epithets 
as  decadent  and  superstitious,  yet  it  would  appear  that  Indian 
Tantras  of  the  worst  class  were  not  palatable  to  the  Chinese. 

The  Chinese  Tripitaka  is  of  great  importance  for  the  literary 
history  of  Buddhism,  but  the  material  which  it  offers  for  in 
vestigation  is  superabundant  and  the  work  yet  done  is  small. 
We  are  confronted  by  such  questions  as,  can  we  accept  the  dates 
assigned  to  the  translators,  can  we  assume  that,  if  the  Chinese 
translations  or  transliterations  correspond  with  Indian  titles, 
the  works  are  the  same,  and  if  the  works  are  professedly  the 
same,  can  we  assume  that  the  Chinese  text  is  a  correct  present 
ment  of  the  Indian  original? 

The  dates  assigned  to  the  translators  offer  little  ground  for 
scepticism.  The  exactitude  of  the  Chinese  in  such  matters  is 
well  attested,  and  there  is  a  general  agreement  between  several 
authorities  such  as  the  Catalogues  of  the  Tripitaka,  the  memoirs 
known  as  Kao-Seng  Chuan  with  their  continuations,  and  the 
chapter  on  Buddhist  books  in  the  Sui  annals.  There  are  no  signs 


of  a  desire  to  claim  improbable  accuracy  or  improbable  antiquity. 
Many  works  are  said  to  be  by  unknown  translators,  doubtful 
authorship  is  frankly  discussed,  and  the  movement  of  literature 
and  thought  indicated  is  what  we  should  expect.  We  have 
first  fragmentary  and  incomplete  translations  belonging  to  both 
the  Maha  and  Hinayana :  then  a  series  of  more  complete  trans 
lations  beginning  about  the  fifth  century  in  which  the  great 
Hinayana  texts  are  conspicuous:  then  a  further  series  of  im 
proved  translations  in  which  the  Hinayana  falls  into  the  back 
ground  and  the  works  of  Asanga  and  Vasubandhu  come  to  the 
front.  This  evidently  reflects  the  condition  of  Buddhist  India 
about  500-650  A.D.,  just  as  the  translations  of  the  eighth  century 
reflect  its  later  and  tan  trie  phase. 

But  can  Chinese  texts  be  accepted  as  reasonably  faithful 
reproductions  of  the  Indian  originals  whose  names  they  bear, 
and  some  of  which  have  been  lost?  This  question  is  really 
double ;  firstly,  did  the  translators  reproduce  with  fair  accuracy 
the  Indian  text  before  them,  and  secondly,  since  Indian  texts 
often  exist  in  several  recensions,  can  we  assume  that  the  work 
which  the  translators  knew  under  a  certain  Sanskrit  name  is  the 
work  known  to  us  by  that  name  ?  In  reply  it  must  be  said  that 
most  Chinese  translators  fall  short  of  our  standards  of  accuracy. 
In  early  times  when  grammars  and  dictionaries  were  unknown 
the  scholarly  rendering  of  foreign  books  was  a  difficult  business, 
for  professional  interpreters  would  usually  be  incapable  of 
understanding  a  philosophic  treatise.  The  method  often  followed 
was  that  an  Indian  explained  the  text  to  a  literary  Chinese,  who 
recast  the  explanation  in  his  own  language.  The  many  transla 
tions  of  the  more  important  texts  and  the  frequent  description 
of  the  earlier  ones  as  imperfect  indicate  a  feeling  that  the  results 
achieved  were  not  satisfactory.  Several  so-called  translators, 
especially  Kumarajiva,  gave  abstracts  of  the  Indian  texts1. 
Others,  like  Dharmaraksha,  who  made  a  Chinese  version  of 
Asvaghosha's  Buddhacarita,  so  amplified  and  transposed  the 

1  But  his  translation  of  the  Lotus  won  admiration  for  its  literary  style.  See 
Anesaki  Nichircn,  p.  17.  Wieger  (Croyances,  p.  367)  says  that  the  works  of  An- 
shih-kao  illustrate  the  various  methods  of  translation:  absolutely  literal  renderings 
which  have  hardly  any  meaning  in  Chinese:  word  for  word  translations  to  which 
is  added  a  paraphrase  of  each  sentence  in  Chinese  idiom :  and  elegant  renderings  by 
a  native  in  which  the  original  text  obviously  suffers. 

XLIV]  CHINA  295 

original  that  the  result  can  hardly  be  called  a  translation1. 
Others  combined  different  texts  in  one.  Thus  the  work  called 
Ta-o-mi-to-ching2  consists  of  extracts  taken  from  four  previous 
translations  of  the  Sukhavativyuha  and  rearranged  by  the 
author  under  the  inspiration  of  Avalokita  to  whom,  as  he  tells  us, 
he  was  wont  to  pray  during  the  execution  of  his  task.  Others 
again,  like  Dhannagupta,  anticipated  a  method  afterwards  used 
in  Tibet,  and  gave  a  word  for  word  rendering  of  the  Sanskrit 
which  is  hardly  intelligible  to  an  educated  Chinese.  The  later 
versions,  e.g.  those  of  Hsiian  Chuang,  are  more  accurate,  but 
still  a  Chinese  rendering  of  a  lost  Indian  document  cannot  be 
accepted  as  a  faithful  representation  of  the  original  without  a 
critical  examination3. 

Often,  however,  the  translator,  whatever  his  weaknesses 
may  have  been,  had  before  him  a  text  differing  in  bulk  and 
arrangement  from  the  Pali  and  Sanskrit  texts  which  we  possess. 
Thus,  there  are  four  Chinese  translations  of  works  bearing  some 
relation  to  the  Dhammapada  of  the  Pali  Canon.  All  of  these 
describe  the  original  text  as  the  compilation  of  Dharmatrata, 
to  whom  is  also  ascribed  the  compilation  of  the  Tibetan  Udana- 
varga4.  His  name  is  not  mentioned  in  connection  with  the  Pali 
text,  yet  two  of  the  Chinese  translations  are  closely  related  to 
that  text.  The  Fa-chii-ching5  is  a  collection  of  verses  translated 
in  224  A.D.  and  said  to  correspond  with  the  Pali  except  that  it 
has  nine  additional  chapters  and  some  additional  stanzas.  The 
Fa-chu-p'i-yii-ching6  represents  another  edition  of  the  same 

1  Yet  it  must  have  been  intended  as  such.  The  title  expressly  describes  the  work 
as  composed  by  the  Bodhisattva  Ma-Ming  (AsVaghosha)  and  translated  by  Dhar- 
maraksha.  Though  his  idea  of  a  translation  was  at  best  an  amplified  metrical 
paraphrase,  yet  he  coincides  verbally  with  the  original  so  often  that  his  work  can 
hardly  be  described  as  an  independent  poem  inspired  by  it. 

•;*WflilZfc&-  N°-203- 

8  See  Sukhavativyuha,  ed.  Max  Miiller  and  Bunyiu  Nanjio,  Oxford,  1883. 
In  the  preface,  pp.  vii-ix,  is  a  detailed  comparison  of  several  translations  and  in  an 
appendix,  pp.  79  ff.,  a  rendering  of  Sanghavarman's  Chinese  version  of  verses  which 
occur  in  the  work.  Chinese  critics  say  that  Tao-an  in  the  third  century  was  the  first 
to  introduce  a  sound  style  of  translation.  He  made  no  translations  himself  which 
have  survived  but  was  a  scholar  and  commentator  who  influenced  others. 

4  This  is  an  anthology  (edited  by  Beckh,  1911:  translated  by  Rockhill,  1892)  in 
which  300  verses  are  similar  to  the  Pali  Dhammapada. 

No- 1365«  6  K-  No- 1353- 


verses,  illustrated  by  a  collection  of  parables.  It  was  translated 
between  290  and  306.  The  Ch'u-yao-ching1,  translated  in  399, 
is  a  similar  collection  of  verses  and  parables,  but  founded  on 
another  Indian  work  of  much  greater  length.  A  revised  trans 
lation  containing  only  the  verses  was  made  between  980  and 
100 12.  They  are  said  to  be  the  same  as  the  Tibetan  Udana,  and 
the  characteristics  of  this  book,  going  back  apparently  to  a 
Sanskrit  original,  are  that  it  is  divided  into  thirty-three  chapters, 
and  that  though  it  contains  about  300  verses  found  in  Pali, 
yet  it  is  not  merely  the  Pah*  text  plus  additions,  but  an  anthology 
arranged  on  a  different  principle  and  only  partly  identical  in 

There  can  be  little  doubt  that  the  Pali  Dhammapada  is  one 
among  several  collections  of  verses,  with  or  without  an  ex 
planatory  commentary  of  stories.  In  all  these  collections  there 
was  much  common  matter,  both  prose  and  verse,  but  some  were 
longer,  some  shorter,  some  were  in  Pali  and  some  in  Sanskrit. 
Whereas  the  Chinese  Dhammapada  is  longer  than  the  Indian 
texts,  the  Chinese  version  of  Milinda's  Questions4  is  much 
shorter  and  omits  books  iv-vii.  It  was  made  between  317  and 
420  A.D.  and  the  inference  is  that  the  original  Indian  text  re 
ceived  later  additions. 

A  more  important  problem  is  this:  what  is  the  relation  to 
the  Pali  Canon  of  the  Chinese  texts  bearing  titles  corresponding 
to  Dirgha,  Madhyama,  Samyukta  and  Ekottara?  These  collec 
tions  of  sutras  do  not  call  themselves  Nikaya  but  A-han  or 
Agama:  the  titles  are  translated  as  Ch'ang  (long),  Chung 
(medium),  Tsa  (miscellaneous)  and  Tseng-i,  representing  Ekot 
tara  rather  than  Anguttara5.  There  is  hence  prima  facie  reason 

S.  No.  1321. 

Fa-chi-yao-sung-ching,  No.  1439. 

3  There  seem  to  be  at  least  two  other  collections.    Firstly  a  Prakrit  anthology 
of  which  Dutreuil  de  Rhins  discovered  a  fragmentary  MS.  in  Khotan  and  secondly 
a  much  amplified  collection  preserved  in  the  Korean  Tripitaka  and  reprinted  in  the 
Tokyo  edition  (xxiv.'g).  The  relation  of  these  to  the  other  recensions  is  not  clear. 

4  Nanjio,  Cat.  1358.  See  Pelliot,  J.A.  1914,  n.  p.  379. 

6  -J§f     Ffr  .  Sfl .  ^8*  *»*      For  the  relations  of  the  Chinese  translations  to 

J-V '        I     '    •O'P-  "       W      >  *•. 

the  Pali  Tripitaka,  and  to  a  Sanskrit  Canon  now  preserved  only  in  a  fragmentary 
slate,  see  inter  alia,  Nanjio,  Cat.  pp.  127  ff.,  especially  Nos.  542,  543,  545.  Anesaki, 
J.R.A.S.  1901,  p.  895;  id.  "On  some  problems  of  the  textual  history  of  the  Buddhist 
scriptures,"  in  Trans.  A.  S.  Japan,  1908,  p.  81,  and  more  especially  his  longer  article 

XLIV]  CHINA  297 

to  suppose  that  these  works  represent  not  the  Pali  Canon,  but 
a  somewhat  similar  Sanskrit  collection.  That  one  or  many 
Sanskrit  works  may  have  coexisted  with  a  somewhat  similar 
Pali  work  is  clearly  shown  by  the  Vinaya  texts,  for  here  we  have 
the  Pali  Canon  and  Chinese  translations  of  five  Sanskrit  versions, 
belonging  to  different  schools,  but  apparently  covering  the 
same  ground  and  partly  identical.  For  the  Sutra  Pitaka  no  such 
body  of  evidence  is  forthcoming,  but  the  Sanskrit  fragments 
of  the  Samyuktagama  found  near  Turfan  contain  parts  of  six 
sutras  which  are  arranged  in  the  same  order  as  in  the  Chinese 
translation  and  are  apparently  the  original  from  which  it  was 
made.  It  is  noticeable  that  three  of  the  four  great  Agamas  were 
translated  by  monks  who  came  from  Tukhara  or  Kabul. 
Gunabhadra,  however,  the  translator  of  the  Samyuktagama, 
came  from  Central  India  and  the  text  which  he  translated  was 
brought  from  Ceylon  by  Fa-Hsien.  It  apparently  belonged  to 
the  Abhayagiri  monastery  and  not  to  the  Mahavihara.  Nanjio1, 
however,  states  that  about  half  of  it  is  repeated  in  the  Chinese 
versions  of  the  Madhyama  and  Ekottara  Agamas.  It  is  also 
certain  that  though  the  Chinese  Agamas  and  Pali  Nikayas 
contain  much  common  matter,  it  is  differently  distributed2. 

There  was  in  India  a  copious  collection  of  sutras,  existing 
primarily  as  oral  tradition  and  varying  in  diction  and  arrange 
ment,  but  codified  from  time  to  time  in  a  written  form.  One 
of  such  codifications  is  represented  by  the  Pali  Canon,  at  least 
one  other  by  the  Sanskrit  text  which  was  rendered  into  Chinese. 
With  rare  exceptions  the  Chinese  translations  were  from  the 
Sanskrit3.  The  Sanskrit  codification  of  the  sutra  literature,  while 

entitled,  "The  Four  Buddhist  Agamas  in  Chinese"  in  the  same  year  of  the  Trans.', 
id.  "Traces  of  Pali  Texts  in  a  Mahayana  Treatise,"  Museon,  1905.  S.  Levi,  Le 
Samyuktagama  Sanskrit,  T'oung  Poo,  1904,  p.  297. 

1  No.  544. 

2  Thus  seventy  sutras  of  the  Pali  Anguttara  are  found  in  the  Chinese  Madhyama 
and  some  of  them  are  repeated  in  the  Chinese  Ekottara.   The  Pali  Majjhima  con 
tains  125  sutras,  the  Chinese  Madhyamagama  222,  of  which  98  are  common  to  both. 
Also  twenty-two  Pali  Majjhima  dialogues  are  found  in  the  Chinese  Ekottara  and 
Samyukta,  seventy  Chinese  Madhyama  dialogues  in  Pali  Anguttara,  nine  in  Digha, 
seven  in  Samyutta  and  five  in  Khuddaka.   Anesaki,  Some  Problems  of  the  textual 
history  of  the  Buddhist  Scriptures.   See  also  Anesaki  in  Miise'on,  1905,  pp.  23  ff.  on 
the  Samyutta  Nikaya. 

3  Anesaki,  "Traces  of  Pali  Texts,"  Museon,  1905,  shows  that  the  Indian  author 
of  the  Mahaprajnaparamita  Sastra  may  have  known  Pali  texts,  but  the  only  certain 
translation  from  the  Pali  appears  to  be  Nanjio,  No.  1125,  which  is  a  translation  of 


differing  from  the  Pali  in  language  and  arrangement,  is  identical 
in  doctrine  and  almost  identical  in  substance.  It  is  clearly  the 
product  of  the  same  or  similar  schools,  but  is  it  earlier  or  later 
than  the  Pali  or  contemporary  with  it?  The  Chinese  translations 
merely  fix  the  latest  possible  date.  A  portion  of  the  Samyukta- 
gama  (Nanjio,  No.  547)  was  translated  by  an  unknown  author 
between  220  and  280.  This  is  probably  an  extract  from  the 
complete  work  which  was  translated  about  440,  but  it  would  be 
difficult  to  prove  that  the  Indian  original  was  not  augmented  or 
rearranged  between  these  dates.  The  earliest  translation  of  a 
complete  Agama  is  that  of  the  Ekottaragama,  384  A.D.  But 
the  evidence  of  inscriptions1  shows  that  works  known  as  Nikayas 
existed  in  the  third  century  B.C.  The  Sanskrit  of  the  Agamas, 
so  far  as  it  is  known  from  the  fragments  found  in  Central  Asia, 
does  not  suggest  that  they  belong  to  this  epoch,  but  is  compatible 
with  the  theory  that  they  date  from  the  time  of  Kanishka  of 
which  if  we  know  little,  we  can  at  least  say  that  it  produced 
much  Buddhist  Sanskrit  literature.  M.  Sylvain  Levi  has  sug 
gested  that  the  later  appearance  of  the  complete  Vinaya  in 
Chinese  is  due  to  the  late  compilation  of  the  Sanskrit  original2. 
It  seems  to  me  that  other  explanations  are  possible.  The  early 
translators  were  clearly  shy  of  extensive  works  and  until  there 
was  a  considerable  body  of  Chinese  monks,  to  what  public  would 
these  theological  libraries  appeal?  Still,  if  any  indication  were 
forthcoming  from  India  or  Central  Asia  that  the  Sanskrit 
Agamas  were  arranged  or  rearranged  in  the  early  centuries  of 
our  era,  the  late  date  of  the  Chinese  translations  would  certainly 
support  it.  But  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  the  Nikayas  were 
rewritten  in  Sanskrit  about  the  beginning  of  our  era,  when  it  was 
felt  that  works  claiming  a  certain  position  ought  to  be  composed 
in  what  had  become  the  general  literary  language  of  India3. 

the  Introduction  to  Buddhaghosa's  Samanta-pasadika  or  commentary  on  the  Vinaya. 
See  Takakusu  in  J.R.A.S.  1896,  p.  415.  Nanjio's  restoration  of  the  title  as  Sudarsana 
appears  to  be  incorrect. 

1  See  Epigraphia  Indica,  vol.  n.  p.  93. 

2  In  support  of  this  it  may  be  mentioned  that  Fa-Hsien  says  that  at  the  time  of 
his  visit  to  India  the  Vinaya  of  the  Sarvastivadins  was  preserved  orally  and  not 
committed  to  writing. 

3  The  idea  that  an  important  book  ought  to  be  in  Sanskrit  or  deserves  to  be 
turned  into  Sanskrit  is  not  dead  in  India.   See  Grierson,  J.R.A.S.  1913,  p.  133,  who 
in  discussing  a  Sanskrit  version  of  the  Ramayana  of  Tulsi  Das  mentions  that  trans 
lations  of  vernacular  works  into  Sanskrit  are  not  uncommon. 

XLIV]  CHINA  299 

Perhaps  those  who  wrote  them  in  Sanskrit  were  hardly  con 
scious  of  making  a  translation  in  our  sense,  but  simply  wished 
to  publish  them  in  the  best  literary  form. 

It  seems  probable  that  the  Hinayanist  portion  of  the  Chinese 
Tripitaka  is  in  the  main  a  translation  of  the  Canon  of  the  Sar- 
vastivadins  which  must  have  consisted  of  : 

(1)  Four  Agamas  or  Nikayas  only,  for  the  Dhammapada 
is  placed  outside  the  Sutta  Pitaka. 

(2)  A  voluminous  Vinaya  covering  the  same  ground  as  the 
Pali  recension  but  more  copious  in  legend  and  anecdote. 

(3)  An  Abhidharma  entirely  different  from  the  Pali  works 
bearing  this  name. 

It  might  seem  to  follow  from  this  that  the  whole  Pali 
Abhidharma  and  some  important  works  such  as  the  Thera- 
Therigatha  were  unknown  to  the  Hinayanists  of  Central  Asia 
and  Northern  India  in  the  early  centuries  of  our  era.  But  caution 
is  necessary  in  drawing  such  inferences,  for  until  recently  it 
might  have  been  said  that  the  Sutta  Nipata  also  was  unknown, 
whereas  fragments  of  it  in  a  Sanskrit  version  have  now  been 
discovered  in  Eastern  Turkestan1.  The  Chinese  editors  draw 
a  clear  distinction  between  Hinayanist  and  Mahayanist  scrip 
tures.  They  exclude  from  the  latter  works  analogous  to  the 
Pali  Nikayas  and  Vinaya,  and  also  the  Abhidharma  of  the 
Sarvastivadins.  But  the  labours  of  Hsiian  Chuang  and  I-Ching 
show  that  this  does  not  imply  the  rejection  of  all  these  works 
by  Mahay anists. 

Buddhist  literary  activity  has  an  interesting  side  aspect, 
namely  the  expedients  used  to  transliterate  Indian  words,  which 

1  J.R.A.S.  1916,  p.  709.  Also,  the  division  into  five  Nikayas  is  ancient.  See 
Biihler  in  Epig.  Indica,  n.  p.  93.  Anesaki  says  (Trans.  A.  S.  Japan,  1908,  p.  9)  that 
Nanjio,  No.  714,  Pen  Shih  is  the  Itivuttakam,  which  could  not  have  been  guessed 
from  Nanjio's  entry.  Portions  of  the  works  composing  the  fifth  Nikaya  (e.g.  the 
Sutta  Nipata)  occur  in  the  Chinese  Tripitaka  in  the  other  Nikayas.  For  mentions 
of  the-  fifth  Nikaya  in  Chinese,  see  J.A.  1916,  n.  pp.  32-33,  where  it  is  said  to  be 
called  Tsa-Tsang.  This  is  also  the  designation  of  the  last  section  of  the  Tripitaka, 
Nanjio,  Nos.  1321  to  1662,  and  as  this  section  contains  the  Dharmapada,  it  might  be 
supposed  to  be  an  enormously  distended  version  of  the  Kshudraka  Nikaya.  But 
this  can  hardly  be  the  case,  for  this  Tsa-Tsang  is  placed  as  if  it  was  considered  as  a 
fourth  Pitaka  rather  than  as  a  fifth  Nikaya. 

B.  ra.  20 


almost  provided  the  Chinese  with  an  alphabet.  To  some  extent 
Indian  names,  particularly  proper  names  possessing  an  obvious 
meaning,  are  translated.  Thus  Asoka  becomes  Wu-yu,  without 
sorrow:  Asvaghosha,  Ma-ming  or  horse-voice,  and  Udyana 
simply  Yuan  or  park1.  But  many  proper  names  did  not  lend 
themselves  to  such  renderings  and  it  was  a  delicate  business 
to  translate  theological  terms  like  Nirvana  and  Samadhi.  The 
Buddhists  did  not  perhaps  invent  the  idea  of  using  the  Chinese 
characters  so  as  to  spell  with  moderate  precision2,  but  they  had 
greater  need  of  this  procedure  than  other  writers  and  they  used 
it  extensively3  and  with  such  variety  of  detail  that  though  they 
invented  some  fifteen  different  syllabaries,  none  of  them  ob 
tained  general  acceptance  and  Julien4  enumerates  3000  Chinese 
characters  used  to  represent  the  sounds  indicated  by  47 
Indian  letters.  Still,  they  gave  currency5  to  the  system  known 
as  fan-ch'ieh  which  renders  a  syllable  phonetically  by  two 
characters,  the  final  of  the  first  and  the  initial  of  the  second  not 
being  pronounced.  Thus,  in  order  to  indicate  the  sound  Chung, 
a  Chinese  dictionary  will  use  the  two  characters  chu  yung,  which 
are  to  be  read  together  as  Ch  ung. 

The  transcriptions  of  Indian  words  vary  in  exactitude  and 
the  later  are  naturally  better.  Hsiian  Chuang  was  a  notable 
reformer  and  probably  after  his  time  Indian  words  were  rendered 
in  Chinese  characters  as  accurately  as  Chinese  words  are  now 
transcribed  in  Latin  letters.  It  is  true  that  modern  pronuncia 
tion  makes  such  renderings  as  Fo  seem  a  strange  distortion  of 
the  original.  But  it  is  an  abbreviation  of  Fo-t'o  and  these 
syllables  were  probably  once  pronounced  something  like  Vut- 
tha6.  Similarly  Wen-shu-shih-li7  seems  a  parody  of  Manjusri. 

2  See  Walters,  Essays  on  the  Chinese  Language,  pp.  36,  51,  and,  for  the  whole 
subject  of  transcription,  Stanislas  Julien,  Methode  pour  dechiffrer  et  transcrire  les 
rioms  Sanscrits  qui  se  rencontrent  dans  les  livres  chinois. 

3  Entire  Sanskrit  compositions  were  sometimes  transcribed  in  Chinese  characters. 
See  Kien  Ch'ui  Fan  Tsan,  Bibl  Budd.  xv.  and  Max  Miiller,  Buddhist  Texts  from  Japan, 
in.  pp.  35-46. 

4  L.c.  pp.  83-232. 

5  See  inter  alia  the  Preface  to  K'ang  Hsi's  Dictionary.   The  fan-ch'ieh 

system  is  used  in  the  well-known  dictionary  called  Yii-Pien  composed  543  A.D. 

6  Even  in  modern  Cantonese  Fo  is  pronounced  as  Fat. 

XLIV]  CHINA  301 

But  the  evidence  of  modern  dialects  shows  that  the  first  two 
syllables  may  have  been  pronounced  as  Man-ju.  The  pupil  was 
probably  taught  to  eliminate  the  obscure  vowel  of  shih,  and 
li  was  taken  as  the  nearest  equivalent  of  rit  just  as  European 
authors  write  chih  and  tzu  without  pretending  that  they  are 
more  than  conventional  signs  for  Chinese  sounds  unknown  to 
our  languages.  It  was  certainly  possible  to  transcribe  not  only 
names  but  Sanskrit  prayers  and  formulae  in  Chinese  characters, 
and  though  many  writers  sneer  at  the  gibberish  chaunted  by 
Buddhist  priests  yet  I  doubt  if  this  ecclesiastical  pronunciation, 
which  has  changed  with  that  of  the  spoken  language,  is  further 
removed  from  its  original  than  the  Latin  of  Oxford  from  the 
speech  of  Augustus. 

Sanskrit  learning  flourished  in  China  for  a  considerable 
period.  In  the  time  of  the  T'ang,  the  clergy  numbered  many 
serious  students  of  Indian  literature  and  the  glossaries  included 
in  the  Tripitaka  show  that  they  studied  the  original  texts.  Under 
the  Sung  dynasty  (A.D.  1151)  was  compiled  another  dictionary 
of  religious  terms1  and  the  study  of  Sanskrit  was  encouraged 
under  the  Yuan.  But  the  ecclesiastics  of  the  Ming  produced  no 
new  translations  and  apparently  abandoned  the  study  of  the 
original  texts  which  was  no  longer  kept  alive  by  the  arrival  of 
learned  men  from  India.  It  has  been  stated  that  Sanskrit 
manuscripts  are  still  preserved  in  Chinese  monasteries,  but  no 
details  respecting  such  works  are  known  to  me.  The  statement 
is  not  improbable  in  itself2  as  is  shown  by  the  Library  which 
Stein  discovered  at  Tun-huang  and  by  the  Japanese  palm-leaf 
manuscripts  which  came  originally  from  China.  A  few  copies 
of  Sanskrit  sutras  printed  in  China  in  the  Lanja  variety  of  the 
Devanagari  alphabet  have  been  brought  to  Europe3.  Max  Miiller 
published  a  facsimile  of  part  of  the  Vajracchedika  obtained  at 
Peking  and  printed  in  Sanskrit  from  wooden  blocks.  The  place 
of  production  is  unknown,  but  the  characters  are  similar  to 
those  used  for  printing  Sanskrit  in  Tibet,  as  may  be  seen  from 

1  Nanjio,  Cat.  No.  1640. 

3  History  repeats  itself.  I  have  seen  many  modern  Burmese  and  Sinhalese 
MSS.  in  Chinese  monasteries. 

3  Buddhist  Texts  from  Japan,  ed.  Max  Miiller  in  Anecdota  Oxoniensia,  Aryan 
Series,  I,  n  and  in.  For  the  Lanja  printed  text  see  the  last  facsimile  in  I,  also  m. 
p.  34  and  Bibl.  Budd.  xiv  (Kuan-si-im  Pusar),  pp.  vi,  vii.  Another  copy  of  this 
Lanja  printed  text  was  bought  in  Kyoto,  1920. 


another  facsimile  (No.  3)  in  the  same  work.  Placards  and 
pamphlets  containing  short  invocations  in  Sanskrit  and  Tibetan 
are  common  in  Chinese  monasteries,  particularly  where  there  is 
any  Lamaistic  influence,  but  they  do  not  imply  that  the  monks 
who  use  them  have  any  literary  acquaintance  with  those 

CHINA  (continued) 


THE  Schools  (Tsung)  of  Chinese  Buddhism  are  an  intricate 
subject  of  little  practical  importance,  for  observers  agree  that 
at  the  present  day  all  salient  differences  of  doctrine  and  practice 
have  been  obliterated,  although  the  older  monasteries  may 
present  variations  in  details  and  honour  their  own  line  of 
teachers.  A  particular  Bodhisattva  may  be  singled  out  for 
reverence  in  one  locality  or  some  religious  observance  may  be 
specially  enjoined,  but  there  is  little  aggressiveness  or  self 
assertion  among  the  sects,  even  if  they  are  conscious  of  having 
a  definite  name :  they  each  tolerate  the  deities,  rites  and  books 
of  all  and  pay  attention  to  as  many  items  as  leisure  and  inertia 
permit.  There  is  no  clear  distinction  between  Mahayana  and 

The  main  division  is  of  course  into  Lamaism  on  one  side  and 
all  remaining  sects  on  the  other.  Apart  from  this  we  find  a 
record  of  ten  schools  which  deserve  notice  for  various  reasons. 
Some,  though  obscure  in  modern  China,  have  flourished  after 
transportation  to  Japan:  some,  such  as  the  T'ien-t'ai,  are  a 
memorial  of  a  brilliant  epoch :  some  represent  doctrines  which, 
if  not  now  held  by  separate  bodies,  at  least  indicate  different 
tendencies,  such  as  magical  ceremonies,  mystical  contemplation, 
or  faith  in  Amitabha. 

1    ~r..   See  especially  Hackmann,  "Die  Schulen  des  chinesischen  Buddhismus " 

(in  the  Mitth.  Seminars  fur  Orientalische  Sprachen,  Berlin,  1911),  which  contains  the 
text  and  translation  of  an  Essay  by  a  modern  Chinese  Buddhist,  Yang  Wen  Hui. 
Such  a  review  of  Chinese  sects  from  the  contemporary  Buddhist  point  of  view  has 
great  value,  but  it  does  not  seem  to  me  that  Mr  Yang  explains  clearly  the  dogmatic 
tenets  of  each  sect,  the  obvious  inference  being  that  such  tenets  are  of  little 
practical  importance.  Chinese  monasteries  often  seem  to  combine  several  schools. 
Thus  the  Tz'u-Fu-Ssu  monastery  near  Peking  professes  to  belong  both  to  the  Lin- 
Chi  and  Pure  Land  schools  and  its  teachers  expound  the  Diamond-cutter,  Lotus 
and  Shou-Leng-Ching.  So  also  in  India.  See  Rhys  Davids  in  article  Sects 
Buddhist,  E.R.E.  Hackmann  gives  a  list  of  authorities.  Edkins,  Chinese  Buddhism 
(chaps,  vii  and  vin),  may  still  be  consulted,  though  the  account  is  far  from  clear. 


The  more  important  schools  were  comparatively  late,  for 
they  date  from  the  sixth  and  seventh  centuries.  For  two  or 
three  hundred  years  the  Buddhists  of  China  were  a  colony  of 
strangers,  mainly  occupied  in  making  translations.  By  the 
fifth  century  the  extent  and  diversity  of  Indian  literature  be 
came  apparent  and  Fa-Hsien  went  to  India  to  ascertain  which 
was  the  most  correct  Vinaya  and  to  obtain  copies  of  it.  Theology 
was  now  sufficiently  developed  to  give  rise  to  two  schools  both 
Indian  in  origin  and  merely  transported  to  China,  known  as 
Ch'eng-shih-tsung  and  San-lun-tsung1. 

The  first  is  considered  as  Hinayanist  and  equivalent  to  the 
Sautrantikas2.  In  the  seventh  century  it  passed  over  to  Japan 
where  it  is  known  as  Ji-jitsu-shu,  but  neither  there  nor  in  China 
had  it  much  importance.  The  San-lun-tsung  recognizes  as  three 
authorities  (from  which  it  takes  its  name)  the  Madhyamika- 
sastra  and  Dvadasanikayasastra  of  Nagarjuna  with  the 
Satasastra  of  his  pupil  Deva.  It  is  simply  the  school  of  these 
two  doctors  and  represents  the  extreme  of  Mahay  anism.  It  had 
some  importance  in  Japan,  where  it  was  called  San-Ron- 

The  arrival  of  Bodhidharma  at  Canton  in  520  (or  526)  was 
a  great  event  for  the  history  of  Buddhist  dogma,  although  his 
special  doctrines  did  not  become  popular  until  much  later.  He 
introduced  the  contemplative  school  and  also  the  institution  of 
the  Patriarchate,  which  for  a  time  had  some  importance.  He 
wrote  no  books  himself,  but  taught  that  true  knowledge  is 
gained  in  meditation  by  intuition3  and  communicated  by 
transference  of  thought.  The  best  account  of  his  teaching  is 
contained  in  the  Chinese  treatise  which  reports  the  sermon 
preached  by  him  before  the  Emperor  Wu-Ti  in  5204.  The  chief 
thesis  of  this  disQOurse  is  that  the  only  true  reality  is  the  Buddha 

2  It  based  itself  on  the  Satyasiddhisastra  of  Harivarman,  Nanjio,  Cat. 

8  This  meditation  however  is  of  a  special  sort.  The  six  Paramitas  are,  Dana, 
Sila,  Kshanti,  Virya,  Dhyana  and  Prajna.  The  meditation  of  Bodhidharma  is  not 
the  Dhyana  of  this  list,  but  meditation  on  Prajna,  the  highest  of  the  Paramitas. 
See  Hackmann's  Chinese  text,  p.  249. 

4  Ta-mo-hsiie-mai-lun,  analyzed  by  Wieger  in  his  Histoire  des  Croyances  religieuses 
en  Chine,  pp.  520  ff.  I  could  wish  for  more  information  about  this  work,  but  have 
not  been  able  to  find  the  original. 

XLV]  CHINA  305 

nature1  in  the  heart  of  every  man.  Prayer,  asceticism  and  good 
works  are  vain.  All  that  man  need  do  is  to  turn  his  gaze  inward 
and  see  the  Buddha  in  his  own  heart.  This  vision,  which  gives 
light  and  deliverance,  comes  in  a  moment.  It  is  a  simple,  natural 
act  like  swallowing  or  dreaming  which  cannot  be  taught  or 
learnt,  for  it  is  not  something  imparted  but  an  experience  of 
the  soul,  and  teaching  can  only  prepare  the  way  for  it.  Some 
are  impeded  by  their  karma  and  are  physically  incapable  of 
the  vision,  whatever  their  merits  or  piety  may  be,  but  for  those 
to  whom  it  comes  it  is  inevitable  and  convincing. 

We  have  only  to  substitute  dtman  for  Buddha  or  Buddha 
nature  to  see  how  closely  this  teaching  resembles  certain 
passages  in  the  Upanishads,  and  the  resemblance  is  particularly 
strong  in  such  statements  as  that  the  Buddha  nature  reveals 
itself  in  dreams,  or  that  it  is  so  great  that  it  embraces  the 
universe  and  so  small  that  the  point  of  a  needle  cannot  prick 
it.  The  doctrine  of  Maya  is  clearly  indicated,  even  if  the  word 
was  not  used  in  the  original,  for  it  is  expressly  said  that  all 
phenomena  are  unreal.  Thus  the  teaching  of  Bodhidharma  is 
an  anticipation  of  Ankara's  monism,  but  it  is  formulated  in 
consistently  Buddhist  language  and  is  in  harmony  with  the 
views  of  the  Madhyamika  school  and  of  the  Diamond-cutter. 
This  Chinese  sermon  confirms  other  evidence  which  indicates 
that  the  ideas  of  the  Advaita  philosophy,  though  Brahmanic 
in  their  origin  and  severely  condemned  by  Gotama  himself, 
were  elaborated  in  Buddhist  circles  before  they  were  approved 
by  orthodox  Hindus. 

Bodhidharma's  teaching  was  Indian  but  it  harmonized 
marvellously  with  Taoism  and  Chinese  Buddhists  studied 
Taoist  books2.  A  current  of  Chinese  thought  which  was  old 
and  strong,  if  not  the  main  stream,  bade  man  abstain  from 
action  and  look  for  peace  and  light  within.  It  was,  I  think,  the 
junction  of  this  native  tributary  with  the  river  of  inflowing 
Buddhism  which  gave  the  Contemplative  School  its  importance. 
It  lost  that  importance  because  it  abandoned  its  special  doctrines 

1  Also  called  Fa-shen  or  dharmakaya  in  the  discourse.   Bodhidharma  said  that 
he  preached  the  seal  of  the  heart  (hsinyin).  This  probably  corresponds  to  some  Sanskrit 
expression,  but  I  have  not  found  the  Indian  equivalent. 

2  I-Ching,  in  his  Memoirs  of  Eminent  Monks,  mentions  three  pilgrims  as  having 
studied  the  works  of  Chuang-tzu  and  his  own  style  shows  that  he  was  well-read  in 
this  author. 


and  adopted  the  usages  of  other  schools.  When  Taoism  flourished 
under  the  Sung  Emperors  it  was  also  flourishing  and  influenced 
art  as  well  as  thought,  but  it  probably  decayed  under  the  Yuan 
dynasty  which  favoured  religion  of  a  different  stamp.  It  is 
remarkable  that  Bodhidharma  appears  to  be  unknown  to  both 
Indian  and  Tibetan1  writers  but  his  teaching  has  imparted  a 
special  tone  and  character  to  a  section  (though  not  the  whole) 
of  Far  Eastern  Buddhism.  It  is  called  in  Chinese  Tsung-men 
or  Ch'an-tsung,  but  this  word  Ch'an2  is  perhaps  better  known 
to  Europe  in  its  Japanese  form  Zen. 

Bodhidharma  is  also  accounted  the  twenty  -eighth  Patriarch, 
a  title  which  represents  the  Chinese  Tsu  Shih3  rather  than  any 
Indian  designation,  for  though  in  Pali  literature  we  hear  of  the 
succession  of  teachers4,  it  is  not  clear  that  any  of  them  enjoyed 
a  style  or  position  such  as  is  implied  in  the  word  Patriarch. 
Hindus  have  always  attached  importance  to  spiritual  lineage 
and  every  school  has  a  list  of  teachers  who  have  transmitted 
its  special  lore,  but  the  sense  of  hierarchy  is  so  weak  that  it  is 
misleading  to  describe  these  personages  as  Popes,  Patriarchs  or 
Bishops,  and  apart  from  the  personal  respect  which  the  talents 
of  individuals  may  have  won,  it  does  not  appear  that  there  was 
any  succession  of  teachers  who  could  be  correctly  termed  heads 
of  the  Church.  Even  in  China  such  a  title  is  of  dubious  accuracy 
for  whatever  position  Bodhidharma  and  his  successors  may 
have  claimed  for  themselves,  they  were  not  generally  accepted 
as  being  more  than  the  heads  of  a  school  and  other  schools  also 
gave  their  chief  teachers  the  title  of  Tsu-shih.  From  time  to 
time  the  Emperor  appointed  overseers  of  religion  with  the  title 
of  Kuo-shih5,  instructor  of  the  nation,  but  these  were  officials 
appointed  by  the  Crown,  not  prelates  consecrated  by  the  Church. 

Twenty-eight  Patriarchs  are  supposed  to  have  flourished 
between  the  death  of  the  Buddha  and  the  arrival  of  Bodhidharma 
in  China.  The  Chinese  lists6  do  not  in  the  earlier  part  agree  with 

1  He  is  not  mentioned  by  Taranatha. 

1  f$.  *  jffiffifi. 

4  Acariyaparampara.  There  is  a  list  of  such  teachers  in  Mahavamsa,  v.  95  ff., 
Dipavamsa,  iv.  27  ff.  and  v.  69. 

6  The  succession  of  Patriarchs  is  the  subject  of  several  works  comprised  in  the 
Chinese  Tripitaka.    Of  these  the  Fu-fa-tsang-yin-yiian-ching  (Nanjio,  1340)  is  the 

XLV]  CHINA  307 

the  Singhalese  accounts  of  the  apostolic  succession  and  contain 
few  eminent  names  with  the  exception  of  Asvaghosha,  Nagar- 
juna,  Deva  and  Vasubandhu. 

According  to  most  schools  there  were  only  twenty-four 
Patriarchs.  These  are  said  to  have  been  foretold  by  the  Buddha 
and  twenty -four  is  a  usual  number  in  such  series1.  The  twenty- 
fourth  Patriarch  Simha  Bhikshu  or  Simhalaputra  went  to 
Kashmir  and  suffered  martyrdom  there  at  the  hands  of  Mihira- 
kula2  without  appointing  a  successor.  But  the  school  of  Bodhi- 
dharma  continues  the  series,  reckoning  him  as  the  twenty- 
eighth,  and  the  first  of  the  Chinese  Patriarchs.  Now  since  the 
three  Patriarchs  between  the  martyr  and  Bodhidharma  are  all 
described  as  living  in  southern  India,  whereas  such  travellers 
as  Fa-Hsien  obviously  thought  that  the  true  doctrine  was  to  be 
found  in  northern  India,  and  since  Bodhidharma  left  India 
altogether,  it  is  probable  that  the  later  Patriarchs  represent  the 

most  important,  because  it  professes  to  be  translated  (A.D.  472)  from  an  Indian 
work,  which,  however,  is  not  in  the  Tibetan  Canon  and  is  not  known  in  Sanskrit. 
The  Chinese  text,  as  we  have  it,  is  probably  not  a  translation  from  the  Sanskrit,  but 
a  compilation  made  in  the  sixth  century  which,  however,  acquired  considerable 
authority.  See  Maspero  in  Melanges  d'Indianisme:  Sylvain  Levi,  pp.  129-149,  and 
B.E.F.E.0. 1911,  pp.  344-348.  Other  works  are  the  Fo-tsu-t'ung-chi  (Nanjio,  1661), 
of  Chih  P'an  (c,  1270),  belonging  to  the  T'ien-t'ai  school,  and  the  Ching-te-ch'uan- 
teng-lu  together  with  the  Tsung-men-t'ung-yao-hsii-chi  (Nanjio,  1524,  1526)  both 
belonging  to  the  school  of  Bodhidharma.  See  also  Nanjio,  1528,  1529.  The  common 
list  of  Patriarchs  is  as  follows:  1.  Mahaka^yapa;  2.  Ananda;  3.  Sanavasa  or  6ana- 
kavasa;  4.  Upagupta;  5.  Dhritaka;  6.  Micchaka.  Here  the  name  of  Vasumitra  is 
inserted  by  some  but  omitted  by  others;  7.  Buddhanandi ;  8.  Buddhamitra;  9.  ParsVa; 
10.  Punyayasas;  11.  Asvaghosha;  12.  Kapimala;  13.  Nagarjuna;  14.  Deva  (Kana- 
deva);  15.  Rahulata;  16.  Sanghanandi;  17.  Sanghayasas;  18.  Kumarata;  19.  Jayata; 
20.  Vasubandhu;  21.  Manura;  22.  Haklena  or  Padmaratna;  23.  Simha  Bhikshu; 
24.  Basiasita;  25.  Putriomita  or  Punyamitra;  26.  Prajnatara;  27  (or  28,  if  Vasu 
mitra  is  reckoned)  Bodhidharma.  Many  of  these  names  are  odd  and  are  only  con 
jectural  restorations  made  from  the  Chinese  transcription,  for  which  see  Nanjio,  1340. 
Other  lists  of  Patriarchs  vary  from  that  given  above,  partly  because  they  represent 
the  traditions  of  other  schools.  It  is  not  strange,  for  instance,  if  the  Sarvastivadins 
did  not  recognize  Nagarjuna  as  a  Patriarch.  Two  of  their  lists  have  been  preserved 
by  Seng-yu  (Nanjio,  1476)  who  wrote  about  520.  Some  notes  on  the  Patriarchs  and 
reproductions  of  Chinese  pictures  representing  them  will  be  found  in  Dore",  pp.  244  ff. 
It  is  extremely  curious  that  Asvaghosha  is  represented  as  a  woman. 

1  It  is  found,  for  instance,  in  the  lists  of  the  Jain  Tirthankaras  and  in  some 
accounts  of  the  Buddhas  and  of  the  Avataras  of  Vishnu. 

2  See  Watters,  Yuan  Chwang,  p.  290.    But  the  dates  offer  some  difficulty,  for 
Mihirakula,  the  celebrated  Hun  chieftain,  is  usually  supposed  to  have  reigned  about 
510-540  A.D.  Taranatha  (Schiefner,  p.  95)  speaks  of  a  martyr  called  Malikabuddhi. 
See,  too,  ib.  p.  306. 


spiritual  genealogy  of  some  school  which  was  not  the  Church 
as  established  at  Nalanda1. 

It  will  be  convenient  to  summarize  briefly  here  the  history 
of  Bodhidharma's  school.  Finding  that  his  doctrines  were  not 
altogether  acceptable  to  the  Emperor  Wu-Ti  (who  did  not  relish 
being  told  that  his  pious  exertions  were  vain  works  of  no  value) 
he  retired  to  Lo-yang  and  before  his  death  designated  as  his 
successor  Hui-k'o.  It  is  related  of  Hui-k'o  that  when  he  first 
applied  for  instruction  he  could  not  attract  Bodhidharma's 
attention  and  therefore  stood  before  the  sage's  door  during  a 
whole  winter  night  until  the  snow  reached  his  knees.  Bodhi- 
dharma  indicated  that  he  did  not  think  this  test  of  endurance 
remarkable.  Hui-k'o  then  took  a  knife,  cut  off  his  own  arm  and 
presented  it  to  the  teacher  who  accepted  him  as  a  pupil  and 
ultimately  gave  him  the  insignia  of  the  Patriarchate — a  robe 
and  bowl.  He  taught  for  thirty-four  years  and  is  said  to  have 
mixed  freely  with  the  lowest  and  most  debauched  reprobates. 
His  successors  were  Seng-ts'an,  Tao-hsin,  Hung-jen,  and  Hui- 
neng2  who  died  in  713  and  declined  to  nominate  a  successor, 
saying  that  the  doctrine  was  well  established.  The  bowl  of 
Bodhidharma  was  buried  with  him.  Thus  the  Patriarch  was  not 
willing  to  be  an  Erastian  head  of  the  Church  and  thought  the 
Church  could  get  on  without  him.  The  object  of  the  Patriarchate 
was  simply  to  insure  the  correct  transmission  from  teacher  to 
scholar  of  certain  doctrines,  and  this  precaution  was  especially 
necessary  in  sects  which  rejected  scriptural  authority  and  relied 
on  personal  instruction.  So  soon  as  there  were  several  competent 
teachers  handing  on  the  tradition  such  a  safeguard  was  felt  to 
be  unnecessary. 

That  this  feeling  was  just  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  the 
school  of  Bodhidharma  is  still  practically  one  in  teaching.  But 
its  small  regard  for  scripture  and  insistence  on  oral  instruction 
caused  the  principal  monasteries  to  regard  themselves  as  centres 
with  an  apostolic  succession  of  their  own  and  to  form  divisions 
which  were  geographical  rather  than  doctrinal.  They  are  often 

1  It  is  clear  that  the  school  of  Valabhi  was  to  some  extent  a  rival  of  Nalanda. 

2  For  a  portrait  of  Hui-neng  see  Kokka,  No.  297.  The  names  of  Bodhidharma's 

successors    are   in   Chinese   characters    jj  ?lj,    f!|^5|l  >    Islfe  5 

XLV]  CHINA  309 

called  school  (tsung),  but  the  term  is  not  correct,  if  it  implies 
that  the  difference  is  similar  to  that  which  separates  the 
Ch'an-tsung  and  Lii-tsung  or  schools  of  contemplation  and  of 
discipline.  Even  in  the  lifetime  of  Hui-neng  there  seems  to 
have  been  a  division,  for  he  is  sometimes  called  the  Patriarch 
of  the  South,  Shen-Hsiu1  being  recognized  as  Patriarch  of  the 
North.  But  all  subsequent  divisions  of  the  Ch'an-tsung  trace 
their  lineage  to  Hui-neng.  Two  of  his  disciples  founded  two 
schools  called  Nan  Yueh  and  Ch'ing  Yuan2  and  between  the 
eighth  and  tenth  centuries  these  produced  respectively  two  and 
three  subdivisions,  known  together  as  Wu-tsung  or  five  schools. 
They  take  their  names  from  the  places  where  their  founders 
dwelt  and  are  the  schools  of  Wei-Yang,  Lin-Chi,  Ts'ao-Tung, 
Yun-Men  and  Fa-Yen3.  This  is  the  chronological  order,  but  the 
most  important  school  is  the  Lin-Chi,  founded  by  I-Hsuan4, 
who  resided  on  the  banks  of  a  river5  in  Chih-li  and  died  in  867. 
It  is  not  easy  to  discriminate  the  special  doctrines6  of  the 
Lin-Chi  for  it  became  the  dominant  form  of  the  school  to  such 
an  extent  that  other  variants  are  little  more  than  names.  But 
it  appears  to  have  insisted  on  the  transmission  of  spiritual  truths 
not  only  by  oral  instruction  but  by  a  species  of  telepathy  between 
teacher  and  pupil  culminating  in  sudden  illumination.  At  the 
present  day  the  majority  of  Chinese  monasteries  profess  to 
belong  to  the  Ch'an-tsung  and  it  has  encroached  on  other  schools. 
Thus  it  is  now  accepted  on  the  sacred  island  of  P'uto  which 
originally  followed  the  Lii-tsung. 

Although  the  Ch'an  school  did  not  value  the  study  of 
scripture  as  part  of  the  spiritual  life,  yet  it  by  no  means  neglected 
letters  and  can  point  to  a  goodly  array  of  ecclesiastical  authors, 

Much  biographical  inf  onnation  respecting  this  and  other 

schools  will  be  found  in  Dore,  vols.  vn  and  vm.   But  there  is  little  to  record  in  the 
way  of  events  or  literary  and  doctrinal  movements. 

5  Lin-Chi  means  coming  to  the  ford.    Is  this  an  allusion  to  the  Pali  expression 
Sotapanno?    The  name  appears  in  Japanese  as  Rinzai.    Most  educated  Chinese 
monks  when  asked  as  to  their  doctrine  say  they  belong  to  the  Lin-Chi. 

6  They  are  generally  called  the  three  mysteries  (Hsiian)  and  the  three  important 
points  (  Yao),  but  I  have  not  been  able  to  obtain  any  clear  explanation  of  what  they 
mean.   See  Edkins,  Chinese  Buddhism,  p.  164,  and  Hackmann,  I.e.  p.  250. 


extending  down  to  modern  times1.  More  than  twenty  of  their 
treatises  have  been  admitted  into  the  Tripitaka.  Several  of 
these  are  historical  and  discuss  the  succession  of  Patriarchs  and 
abbots,  but  the  most  characteristic  productions  of  the  sect  are 
collections  of  aphorisms,  usually  compiled  by  the  disciples  of 
a  teacher  who  himself  committed  nothing  to  writing2. 

In  opposition  to  the  Contemplative  School  or  Tsung-men, 
all  the  others  are  sometimes  classed  together  as  Chiao-men. 
This  dichotomy  perhaps  does  no  more  than  justice  to  the  im 
portance  of  Bodhidharma's  school,  but  is  hardly  scientific,  for, 
whatever  may  be  the  numerical  proportion,  the  other  schools 
differ  from  one  another  as  much  as  they  differ  from  it.  They 
all  agree  in  recognizing  the  authority  not  only  of  a  founder  but 
of  a  special  sacred  book.  We  may  treat  first  of  one  which,  like 
the  Tsung-men,  belongs  specially  to  the  Buddhism  of  the  Far 
East  and  is  both  an  offshoot  of  the  Tsung-men  and  a  protest 
against  it — there  being  nothing  incompatible  in  this  double 
relationship.  This  is  the  T'ien-t'ai3  school  which  takes  its  name 
from  a  celebrated  monastery  in  the  province  of  Che-kiang.  The 
founder  of  this  establishment  and  of  the  sect  was  called  Chih-K'ai 
or  Chih-I4  and  followed  originally  Bodhidharma's  teaching,  but 
ultimately  rejected  the  view  that  contemplation  is  all-sufficient, 
while  still  claiming  to  derive  his  doctrine  from  Nagarjuna.  He 
had  a  special  veneration  for  the  Lotus  Sutra  and  paid  attention 
to  ceremonial.  He  held  that  although  the  Buddha-mind  is 
present  in  all  living  beings,  yet  they  do  not  of  themselves  come 
to  the  knowledge  and  use  of  it,  so  that  instruction  is  necessary 
to  remove  error  and  establish  true  ideas.  The  phrase  Chih-kuan5 
is  almost  the  motto  of  the  school :  it  is  a  translation  of  the  two 
words  Samatha  and  Vipassana,  taken  to  mean  calm  and  insight. 

1  Wieger,  Bouddhisme  Chinois,  p.  108,  states  that  230  works  belonging  to  this 
sect  were  published  under  the  Manchu  dynasty. 

2  See  e.g.  Nanjio,  Cat.  1527,  1532. 

3  ^fjj,  jqf .  Tendai  in  Japanese.  It  is  also  called  in  China  £J!jl  Fa-hua. 

*  ^HK*  Als°oftensPokenofasChih-che-ta-shih^^^gj]}.  Officially 
he  is  often  styled  the  fourth  Patriarch  of  the  school.  See  Dore,  p.  449. 

6  JjLraSi*  ^n  ^a^  Buddhism  also,  especially  in  later  works,  Samatha  and 
Vipassana  may  be  taken  as  a  compendium  of  the  higher  life  as  they  are  respectively 
the  results  of  the  two  sets  of  religious  exercises  called  Adhicitta  and  Adhipanna. 
(See  Ang.  Nik.  in.  88.) 

XLV]  CHINA  311 

The  T'ien-Tai  is  distinguished  by  its  many-sided  and 
almost  encyclopaedic  character.  Chih-I  did  not  like  the  exclusive- 
ness  of  the  Contemplative  School.  He  approved  impartially 
of  ecstasy,  literature,  ceremonial  and  discipline:  he  wished  to 
find  a  place  for  everything  and  a  point  of  view  from  which  every 
doctrine  might  be  admitted  to  have  some  value.  Thus  he  divided 
the  teaching  of  the  Buddha  into  five  periods,  regarded  as 
progressive  not  contradictory,  and  expounded  respectively  in 
(a)  the  Hua-yen  Sutra;  (6)  the  Hinayana  Sutras;  (c)  the  Leng- 
yen-ching;  (d)  the  Prajna-paramita;  (e)  the  Lotus  Sutra  which 
is  the  crown,  quintessence  and  plenitude  of  all  Buddhism.  He 
also  divided  religion  into  eight  parts1,  sometimes  counted  as 
four,  the  latter  half  of  the  list  being  the  more  important.  The 
names  are  collection,  progress,  distinction  and  completion. 
These  terms  indicate  different  ways  of  looking  at  religion,  all 
legitimate  but  not  equally  comprehensive  or  just  in  perspective. 
By  collection  is  meant  the  Hinayana,  the  name  being  apparently 
due  to  the  variously  catalogued  phenomena  which  occupy  the 
disciple  in  the  early  stages  of  his  progress :  the  scriptures,  divisions 
of  the  universe,  states  of  the  human  minds  and  so  on.  Progress 
(T'ung,  which  might  also  be  rendered  as  transition  or  communi 
cation)  is  applicable  to  the  Hina  and  Mahayana  alike  and  regards 
the  religious  life  as  a  series  of  stages  rising  from  the  state  of  an 
unconverted  man  to  that  of  a  Buddha.  Pieh,  or  distinction,  is 
applicable  only  to  the  Mahayana  and  means  the  special  excel 
lences  of  a  Bodhisattva.  Yuan,  completeness  or  plenitude,  is 
the  doctrine  of  the  Lotus  which  embraces  all  aspects  of  religion. 
In  a  similar  spirit  of  synthesis  and  conciliation  Chih-I  uses 
Nagarj una's  view  that  truth  is  not  of  one  kind.  From  the  stand 
point  of  absolute  truth  all  phenomena  are  void  or  unreal;  on 
the  other  hand  they  are  indubitably  real  for  practical  purposes. 
More  just  is  the  middle  view  which  builds  up  the  religious 
character.  It  sees  that  all  phenomena  both  exist  and  do  not 
exist  and  that  thought  cannot  content  itself  with  the  hypothesis 
either  of  their  real  existence  or  of  the  void.  Chih-I's  teaching  as 

.  In  Chinese  jgf,   j£,  ft®,   ^^,  £,  jg,   JJ||,   ft .     Tun, 

Chien,  Pi-mi,  Pu-ting,  Tsang,  T'ung,  Pieh,  Yuan.  See  Nanjio,  1568,  and  for  very 
different  explanations  of  these  obscure  words,  Edkins,  Chinese  Buddhism,  p.  182, 
and  Richard's  New  Testament  of  Higher  Buddhism,  p.  41.  Masson-Oursel  in  J.A. 
1915,  i.  p.  305. 


to  the  nature  of  the  Buddha  is  almost  theistic.  It  regards  the 
fundamental  (pen)  Buddhahood  as  not  merely  the  highest  reality 
but  as  constant  activity  exerting  itself  for  the  good  of  all 
beings.  Distinguished  from  this  fundamental  Buddhahood  is 
the  derivative  Buddhahood  or  trace  (chi)  left  by  the  Buddha 
among  men  to  educate  them.  There  has  been  considerable 
discussion  in  the  school  as  to  the  relative  excellence  of  the  pen 
and  the  chi1. 

The  T'ien-T'ai  school  is  important,  not  merely  for  its 
doctrines,  but  as  having  produced  a  great  monastic  establish 
ment  and  an  illustrious  line  of  writers.  In  spite  of  the  orders 
of  the  Emperor  who  wished  to  retain  him  at  Nanking,  Chih-I 
retired  to  the  highlands  of  Che-Kiang  and  twelve  monasteries 
still  mark  various  spots  where  he  is  said  to  have  resided.  He 
had  some  repute  as  an  author,  but  more  as  a  preacher.  His 
words  were  recorded  by  his  disciple  Kuan-Ting2  and  in  this 
way  have  been  preserved  two  expositions  of  the  Lotus  and  a 
treatise  on  his  favourite  doctrine  of  Chih-Kuan  which  together 
are  termed  the  San-ta-pu,  or  Three  Great  Books.  Similar 
spoken  expositions  of  other  sutras  are  also  preserved.  Some 
smaller  treatises  on  his  chief  doctrines  seem  to  be  works  of  his 
own  pen3.  A  century  later  Chan  -Jan4,  who  is  reckoned  the 
ninth  Patriarch  of  the  T'ien-t'ai  school,  composed  commentaries 
on  the  Three  Great  Books  as  well  as  some  short  original  works. 
During  the  troubled  period  of  the  Five  Dynasties,  the  T'ien-t'ai 
monasteries  suffered  severely  and  the  sacred  books  were  almost 
lost.  But  the  school  had  a  branch  in  Korea  and  a  Korean  priest 
called  Ti-Kuan5  re-established  it  in  China.  It  continued  to 
contribute  literature  to  the  Tripitaka  until  1270  but  after  the 
tenth  century  its  works,  though  numerous,  lose  their  distinctive 
character  and  are  largely  concerned  with  magical  formulae  and 
the  worship  of  Amida. 

The  latter  is  the  special  teaching  of  the  Pure  Land  school, 
also  known  as  the  Lotus  school,  or  the  Short  Cut6.  It  is  indeed 

1  and          .  3  .    The  books  are  Nanjio,  Nos.  1534,  1536,  1538. 

8  Among   them   is   the   compendium   for   beginners   called   Hsiao-chih-kuan, 
(Nanjio,  1540),  partly  translated  in  Beat's  Catena,  pp.  251  ff. 

XLV]  CHINA  313 

a  short  cut  to  salvation,  striking  unceremoniously  across  all 
systems,  for  it  teaches  that  simple  faith  in  Amitabha  (Amida) 
and  invocation  of  his  name  can  take  the  place  of  moral  and 
intellectual  endeavour.  Its  popularity  is  in  proportion  to  its 
facility:  its  origin  is  ancient,  its  influence  universal,  but  perhaps 
for  this  very  reason  its  existence  as  a  corporation  is  somewhat 
indistinct.  It  is  also  remarkable  that  though  the  Chinese 
Tripitaka  contains  numerous  works  dedicated  to  the  honour  of 
Amitabha,  yet  they  are  not  described  as  composed  by  members 
of  the  Pure  Land  school  but  appear  to  be  due  to  authors  of  all 

The  doctrine,  if  not  the  school,  was  known  in  China  before 
186,  in  which  year  there  died  at  Lo-yang,  a  monk  of  the  Yiieh- 
chih  called  Lokakshi,  who  translated  the  longer  Sukhavati- 
vyuha.  So  far  as  I  know,  there  is  no  reason  for  doubting  these 
statements2.  The  date  is  important  for  the  history  of  doctrine, 
since  it  indicates  that  the  sutra  existed  in  Sanskrit  some  time 
previously.  Another  translation  by  the  Parthian  An  Shih-Kao, 
whose  activity  falls  between  148  and  170  A.D.  may  have  been 
earlier  and  altogether  twelve  translations  were  made  before 
1000  A.D.  of  which  five  are  extant3.  Several  of  the  earlier 
translators  were  natives  of  Central  Asia,  so  it  is  permissible 
to  suppose  that  the  sutra  was  esteemed  there.  The  shorter 
Sukhavati-vyuha  was  translated  by  Kumarajiva  (c.  402)  and 
later  by  Hsiian  Chuang.  The  Amitayurdhyanasutra  was  trans 
lated  by  Kalayasas  about  424.  These  three  books4  are  the 
principal  scriptures  of  the  school  and  copies  of  the  greater 
Sukhavati  may  still  be  found  in  almost  every  Chinese  monastery, 
whatever  principles  it  professes. 

Hui  Yuan5  who  lived  from  333  to  416  is  considered  as  the 
founder  of  the  school.  He  was  in  his  youth  an  enthusiastic 

1  The  list  of  Chinese  authors  in  Nanjio's  Catalogue,  App.  in,  describes  many  as 
belonging  to  the  T'ien-t'ai,  Avatamsaka  or  Dhyana  schools,  but  none  as  belonging 
to  the  Ching-T'u. 

2  For  the  authorities,  see  Nanjio,  p.  381. 

3  Nanjio,  p.  10,  note. 

4  They  are  all  translated  in  S.B.E.  XLIX.    The  two  former  exist  in  Sanskrit. 
The  Amitayurdhyana  is  known  only  in  the  Chinese  translation.  They  are  called 

in  Chinese   ffi  '  and 


Taoist  and  after  he  turned  Buddhist  is  said  to  have  used  the 
writings  of  Chuang-tzu  to  elucidate  his  new  faith.  He  founded 
a  brotherhood,  and  near  the  monastery  where  he  settled  was 
a  pond  in  which  lotus  flowers  grew,  hence  the  brotherhood  was 
known  as  the  White  Lotus  school1.  For  several  centuries2  it 
enjoyed  general  esteem.  Pan-chou,  one  of  its  Patriarchs,  re 
ceived  the  title  of  Kuo-shih  about  770  A.D.,  and  Shan-tao,  who 
flourished  about  650  and  wrote  commentaries,  was  one  of  its 
principal  literary  men3.  He  popularized  the  doctrine  of  the  Pai- 
tao  or  White  Way,  that  is,  the  narrow  bridge  leading  to  Paradise 
across  which  Amitabha  will  guide  the  souls  of  the  faithful.  But 
somehow  the  name  of  White  Lotus  became  connected  with 
conspiracy  and  rebellion  until  it  was  dreaded  as  the  title  of  a 
formidable  secret  society,  and  ceased  to  be  applied  to  the  school 
as  a  whole.  The  teaching  and  canonical  literature  of  the  Pure 
Land  school  did  not  fall  into  disrepute  but  since  it  was  admitted 
by  other  sects  to  be,  if  not  the  most  excellent  way,  at  least  a 
permissible  short  cut  to  heaven,  it  appears  in  modern  times  less 
as  a  separate  school  than  as  an  aspect  of  most  schools4.  The 
simple  and  emotional  character  of  Amidism,  the  directness  of 
its  "Come  unto  me,"  appeal  so  strongly  to  the  poor  and  un 
educated,  that  no  monastery  or  temple  could  afford  to  neglect  it. 
Two  important  Indian  schools  were  introduced  into  China 
in  the  sixth  and  seventh  centuries  respectively  and  flourished 
until  about  900  A.D.  when  they  began  to  decay.  These  are  the 
Chii-she-tsung  and  Fa-hsiang-tsung5.  The  first  name  is  merely 
a  Chinese  transcription  of  the  Sanskrit  Ko'sa  and  is  due  to  the 
fact  that  the  chief  authority  of  the  school  is  the  Abhidharmakosa- 

1  0  3ifltt  •    ^e  early  history  of  the  school  is  related  in  a  work  called  Lien- 
she-kao-hsien-ch'uan,  said  to  date  from  the  Tsin  dynasty.   See  for  some  account  of 
the  early  worthies,  Dore,  pp.  280  ff.  and  457  ff.  Their  biographies  contain  many 
visions  and  miracles. 

2  Apparently  at  least  until  1042.  See  De  Groot,  Sectarianism,  p.  163.  The  dated 
inscriptions  in  the  grottoes  of  Lung-men  indicate  that  the  cult  of  Amitabha  flourished 
especially  from  647  to  715.  See  Chavannes,  Mission.  ArcheoL  Tome  I,  deuxieme  partie, 
p.  545. 


4  See  for  instance  the  tract  called  Hsiian-Fo-P'u         fjft  jft    and  translated  by 
Richard  under  the  title  of  A  Guide  to  Buddhahood,  pp.  97  ff. 

XLV]  CHINA  315 

sastra  of  Vasubandhu1.  This  work  expounds  the  doctrine  of  the 
Sarvastivadins,  but  in  a  liberal  spirit  and  without  ignoring  other 
views.  Though  the  Chii-she-tsung  represented  the  best  scholastic 
tradition  of  India  more  adequately  than  any  other  Chinese  sect, 
yet  it  was  too  technical  and  arid  to  become  popular  and  both 
in  China  and  Japan  (where  it  is  known  as  Kusha-shu)  it  was  a 
system  of  scholastic  philosophy  rather  than  a  form  of  religion. 
In  China  it  did  not  last  many  centuries. 

The  Fa-Hsiang  school  is  similar  inasmuch  as  it  represented 
Indian  scholasticism  and  remained,  though  much  esteemed, 
somewhat  academic.  The  name  is  a  translation  of  Dharmalak- 
shana  and  the  school  is  also  known  as  Tz'u-en-tsung2,  and  also 
as  Wei-shih-hsiang-chiao  because  its  principal  text-book  is  the 
Ch'eng-wei-shih-lun3.  This  name,  equivalent  to  Vidyamatra,  or 
Vijnanamatra,  is  the  title  of  a  work  by  Hsiian  Chuang  which 
appears  to  be  a  digest  of  ten  Sanskrit  commentaries  on  a  little 
tract  of  thirty  verses  ascribed  to  Vasubandhu.  As  ultimate 
authorities  the  school  also  recognizes  the  revelations  made  to 
Asanga  by  Maitreya4  and  probably  the  Mahayanasutralankara5 
expresses  its  views.  It  claims  as  its  founder  Silabhadra  the 
teacher  of  Hsiian  Chuang,  but  the  latter  was  its  real  parent. 

Closely  allied  to  it  but  reckoned  as  distinct  is  the  school  called 
the  Hua-yen-tsung6  because  it  was  based  on  the  Hua-yen-ching 
or  Avatamsakasutra.  The  doctrines  of  this  work  and  of  Nagar- 
juna  may  be  conveniently  if  not  quite  correctly  contrasted  as 
pantheistic  and  nihilistic.  The  real  founder  and  first  patriarch 
was  Tu-Fa-Shun  who  died  in  640  but  the  school  sometimes  bears 
the  name  of  Hsien-Shou,  the  posthumous  title  of  its  third 
Patriarch  who  contributed  seven  works  to  the  Tripitaka7.  It 

1  See  Waiters,  On  Yuan  Chwang,  I.  210,  and  also  Takakusu,  Journal  of  the  Pali 
Text  Soc.  1905,  p.  132. 

2  /^[J@l7T? '    The  nftme  re^ers  not  to  tne  doctrines  of  the  school,  but  to 
Tz'u-en-tai-shih,  a  title  given  to  Kuei-chi  the  disciple  of  Hsiian  Chuang  who  was 
one  of  its  principal  teachers  and  taught  at  a  monastery  called  Tz'u-en. 

8  jjScPfUHJcffif  •    See  Nanjio,  Cat.  Nos.  1197  and  1215. 
4  See  Watters,  On  Yuan  Chtvang,  I.  pp.  355  ff. 
6  Ed.  and  transl.  by  Sylvain  Levi,  1911. 

7  His  name  when  alive  was  Fa-tsang.   See  Nanjio,  Cat.  p.  4G2,  and  Dor4,  450. 
The  Empress  Wu  patronized  him. 

E.  III.  2 1 


began  to  wane  in  the  tenth  century  but  has  a  distinguished 
literary  record. 

The  Lii-tsung  or  Vinaya  school1  was  founded  by  Tao  Hsiian 
(595-667).  It  differs  from  those  already  mentioned  inasmuch 
as  it  emphasizes  discipline  and  asceticism  as  the  essential  part 
of  the  religious  life.  Like  the  T'ien-t'ai  this  school  arose  in  China. 
It  bases  itself  on  Indian  authorities,  but  it  does  not  appear  that 
in  thus  laying  stress  on  the  Vinaya  it  imitated  any  Indian  sect, 
although  it  caught  the  spirit  of  the  early  Hinayana  schools. 
The  numerous  works  of  the  founder  indicate  a  practical  tem 
perament  inclined  not  to  mysticism  or  doctrinal  subtlety  but 
to  biography,  literary  history  and  church  government.  Thus  he 
continued  the  series  called  Memoirs  of  Eminent  Monks  and 
wrote  on  the  family  and  country  of  the  Buddha.  He  compiled 
a  catalogue  of  the  Tripitaka,  as  it  was  in  his  time,  and  collec 
tions  of  extracts,  as  well  as  of  documents  relating  to  the  con 
troversies  between  Buddhists  and  Taoists2.  Although  he  took 
as  his  chief  authority  the  Dharmagupta  Vinaya  commonly 
known  as  the  Code  in  Four  Sections,  he  held,  like  most  Chinese 
Buddhists,  that  there  is  a  complete  and  perfect  doctrine  which 
includes  and  transcends  all  the  vehicles.  But  he  insisted, 
probably  as  a  protest  against  the  laxity  or  extravagance  of 
many  monasteries,  that  morality  and  discipline  are  the  in 
dispensable  foundation  of  the  religious  life.  He  was  highly 
esteemed  by  his  contemporaries  and  long  after  his  death  the 
Emperor  Mu-tsung  (821-5)  wrote  a  poem  in  his  honour.  The 
school  is  still  respected  and  it  is  said  that  the  monks  of  its 
principal  monastery,  Pao-hua-shan  in  Kiangsu,  are  stricter 
and  more  learned  than  any  other. 

The  school  called  Chen-yen  (in  Japanese  Shin-gon),  true 
word,  or  Mi-chiao3,  secret  teaching,  equivalent  to  the  Sanskrit 
Mantrayana  or  Tantrayana,  is  the  latest  among  the  recognized 
divisions  of  Chinese  Buddhism  since  it  first  made  its  appearance 
in  the  eighth  century.  The  date,  like  that  of  the  translation  of 
the  Amida  scriptures  is  important,  for  the  school  was  introduced 

1  lifiTj?  •   Also  called  Nan  Shan  or  Southern  mountain  school  from  a  locality 
in  Shensi. 

8  iJL *1L  •    Nanjio,  Cat.  1493,  1469,  1470,  1120,  1481,  1483,  1484,  1471. 
8   ittWorS?^. 

XLV]  CHINA  317 

from  India  and  it  follows  that  its  theories  and  practices  were 
openly  advocated  at  this  period  and  probably  were  not  of  repute 
much  earlier.  It  is  akin  to  the  Buddhism  of  Tibet  and  may  be 
described  in  its  higher  aspects  as  an  elaborate  and  symbolic 
pantheism,  which  represents  the  one  spirit  manifesting  himself 
in  a  series  of  emanations  and  reflexes.  In  its  popular  and  un 
fortunately  commoner  aspect  it  is  simply  polytheism,  fetichism 
and  magic.  In  many  respects  it  resembles  the  Pure  Land  school. 
Its  principal  deity  (the  word  is  not  inaccurate)  is  Vairocana, 
analogous  to  Amitabha,  and  probably  like  him  a  Persian  sun  god 
in  origin.  It  is  also  a  short  cut  to  salvation,  for,  without  denying 
the  efficiency  of  more  laborious  and  ascetic  methods,  it  promises 
to  its  followers  a  similar  result  by  means  of  formulae  and  cere 
monies.  Like  the  Pure  Land  school  it  has  become  in  China  not 
so  much  a  separate  corporation  as  an  aspect,  and  often  the 
most  obvious  and  popular  aspect,  of  all  Buddhist  schools. 

It  claims  Vajrabodhi  as  its  first  Patriarch.  He  was  a  monk 
of  the  Brahman  caste  who  arrived  in  China  from  southern 
India1  in  719  and  died  in  730  after  translating  several  Tantras 
and  spells.  His  companion  and  successor  was  Amoghavajra  of 
whose  career  something  has  already  been  said.  The  fourth 
Patriarch,  Hui  Kuo,  was  the  instructor  of  the  celebrated  Japanese 
monk  Kobo  Daishi  who  established  the  school  in  Japan  under 
the  name  of  Shingon2. 

The  principal  scripture  of  this  sect  is  the  Ta-jih-ching  or 
sutra  of  the  Sun-Buddha3.  A  distinction  is  drawn  between 
exoteric  and  esoteric  doctrine  (the  "true  word")  and  the  various 
phases  of  Buddhist  thought  are  arranged  in  ten  classes.  Of 
these  the  first  nine  are  merely  preparatory,  but  in  the  last  or 
esoteric  phase,  the  adept  becomes  a  living  Buddha  and  receives 
full  intuitive  knowledge.  In  this  respect  the  Tan  trie  school 
resembles  the  teaching  of  Bodhidharma  but  not  in  detail.  It 
teaches  that  Vairocana  is  the  whole  world,  which  is  divided  into 
Garbhadhatu  (material)  and  Vajradhatu  (indestructible),  the 
two  together  forming  Dharmadhatu.  The  manifestations  of 

1  From  Mo-lai-ye,  which  seems  to  mean  the  extreme  south  of  India.   Dore  gives 
some  Chinese  legends  about  him,  p.  299. 

2  For  an  appreciative  criticism  of  the  sect  as  known  in  Japan,  see  Anesaki's 
Buddhist  Art,  chap.  in. 

3  Nanjio,  No.  530.  Nos.  533,  534  and  1039  are  also  important  texts  of  this  sect. 


Vairocana's  body  to  himself — that  is  Buddhas  and  Bodhisattvas 
— are  represented  symbolically  by  diagrams  of  several  circles1. 
But  it  would  be  out  of  place  to  dwell  further  on  the  dogmatic 
theology  of  the  school,  for  I  cannot  discover  that  it  was  ever 
of  importance  in  China  whatever  may  have  been  its  influence 
in  Japan.  What  appealed  only  too  powerfully  to  Chinese 
superstition  was  the  use  of  spells,  charms  and  magical  formulae 
and  the  doctrine  that  since  the  universe  is  merely  idea,  thoughts 
and  facts  are  equipollent.  This  doctrine  (which  need  not  be  the 
outcome  of  metaphysics,  but  underlies  the  magical  practices 
of  many  savage  tribes)  produced  surprising  results  when  applied 
to  funeral  ceremonies,  which  in  China  have  always  formed  the 
major  part  of  religion,  for  it  was  held  that  ceremonial  can  repre 
sent  and  control  the  fortunes  of  the  soul,  that  is  to  say  that  if 
a  ceremony  represents  figuratively  the  rescue  of  a  soul  from  a 
pool  of  blood,  then  the  soul  which  is  undergoing  that  punish 
ment  will  be  delivered.  It  was  not  until  the  latter  part  of  the 
eighth  century  that  such  theories  and  ceremonies  were  accepted 
by  Chinese  Buddhism,  but  they  now  form  a  large  part  of  it. 

Although  in  Japan  Buddhism  continued  to  produce  new 
schools  until  the  thirteenth  century,  no  movement  in  China 
attained  this  status  after  about  730,  and  Lamaism,  though  its 
introduction  produced  considerable  changes  in  the  north,  is 
not  usually  reckoned  as  a  Tsung.  But  numerous  societies  and 
brotherhoods  arose  especially  in  connection  with  the  Pure  Land 
school  and  are  commonly  spoken  of  as  sects.  They  differ  from 
the  schools  mentioned  above  in  having  more  or  less  the  character 
of  secret  societies,  sometimes  merely  brotherhoods  like  the 
Freemasons  but  sometimes  political  in  their  aims.  Among  those 
whose  tenets  are  known  that  which  has  most  religion  and  least 
politics  in  its  composition  appears  to  be  the  Wu-wei-chiao2, 
founded  about  1620  by  one  Lo-tsu3  who  claimed  to  have  received 
a  revelation  contained  in  five  books.  It  is  strictly  vegetarian 

1  In  the  T'ien-t'ai  and  Chen-yen  schools,  and  indeed  in  Chinese  Buddhism 
generally,  Dharma  (Fa  in  Chinese)  is  regarded  as  cosmic  law.  Buddhas  are  the 
visible  expression  of  Dharma.  Hence  they  are  identified  with  it  and  the  whole 
process  of  cosmic  evolution  is  regarded  as  the  manifestation  of  Buddhahood. 

.   See  the  account  by  Edkins,  Chinese  Buddhism,  pp.  271  ff. 

XLV]  CHINA  319 

and  antiritualistic,  objecting  to  the  use  of  images,  incense  and 
candles  in  worship. 

There  are  many  other  sects  with  a  political  tinge.  The  pro 
clivity  of  the  Chinese  to  guilds,  corporations  and  secret  societies 
is  well  known  and  many  of  these  latter  have  a  religious  basis. 
All  such  bodies  are  under  the  ban  of  the  Government,  for  they 
have  always  been  suspected  with  more  or  less  justice  of  favouring 
an ti -social  or  an ti -dynastic  ideas.  But,  mingled  with  such 
political  aspirations,  there  is  often  present  the  desire  for  co 
operation  in  leading  privately  a  religious  life  which,  if  made 
public,  would  be  hampered  by  official  restrictions.  The  most 
celebrated  of  these  sects  is  the  White  Lotus.  Under  the  Yuan 
dynasty  it  was  anti-Mongol,  and  prepared  the  way  for  the 
advent  of  the  Ming.  When  the  Ming  dynasty  in  its  turn 
became  decadent,  we  hear  again  of  the  White  Lotus  coupled 
with  rebellion,  and  similarly  after  the  Manchus  had  passed  their 
meridian,  its  beautiful  but  ill-omened  name  frequently  appears. 
It  seems  clear  that  it  is  an  ancient  and  persistent  society  with 
some  idea  of  creating  a  millennium,  which  becomes  active  when 
the  central  government  is  weak  and  corrupt.  Not  unlike  the 
White  Lotus  is  the  secret  society  commonly  known  as  the  Triad 
but  called  by  its  members  the  Heaven  and  Earth  Association. 
The  T'ai-p'ing  sect,  out  of  which  the  celebrated  rebellion  arose, 
was  similar  but  its  inspiration  seems  to  have  come  from  a 
perversion  of  Christianity.  The  Tsai-Li  sect1  is  still  prevalent 
in  Peking,  Tientsin,  and  the  province  of  Shantung.  I  should 
exceed  the  scope  of  my  task  if  I  attempted  to  examine  these 
sects  in  detail2,  for  their  relation  to  Buddhism  is  often  doubtful. 
Most  of  them  combine  with  it  Taoist  and  other  beliefs  and  some 
of  them  expect  a  Messiah  or  King  of  Righteousness  who  is 
usually  identified  with  Maitreya.  It  is  easy  to  see  how  at  this 
point  hostility  to  the  existing  Government  arises  and  provokes 
not  unnatural  resentment3. 

1  IJlE  ?£  •   See  Cnina  Minion  Year  Book,  1896,  p.  43. 

2  For  some  account  of  them,  see  Stanton,  The  Triad  Society,  White  Lotus 
Society,  etc.,  1900,  reprinted  from  China  Review,  vols.  xxi,  xxn,  and  De  Groot, 
Sectarianism  and  religious  persecution  in  China,  vol.  i.  pp.  149-259. 

3  The  Republic  of  China  has  not  changed  much  from  the  ways  of  the  Empire. 
The  Peking  newspapers  of  June  17,  1914,  contain  a  Presidential  Edict  stating  that 
"the  invention  of  heretical  religions  by  ill-disposed  persons  is  strictly  prohibited 
by  law,"  and  that  certain  religious  societies  are  to  be  suppressed. 


Recently  several  attempts  have  been  made  to  infuse  life 
and  order  into  Chinese  Buddhism.  Japanese  influence  can  be 
traced  in  most  of  them  and  though  they  can  hardly  be  said  to 
represent  a  new  school,  they  attempt  to  go  back  to  Mahayanism 
as  it  was  when  first  introduced  into  China.  The  Hinayana  is 
considered  as  a  necessary  preliminary  to  the  Mahayana  and 
the  latter  is  treated  as  existing  in  several  schools,  among  which 
are  included  the  Pure  Land  school,  though  the  Contemplative 
and  Tantric  schools  seem  not  to  be  regarded  with  favour.  They 
are  probably  mistrusted  as  leading  to  negligence  and  super 

1  See,  for  an  account  of  such  a  reformed  sect,  0.  Francke,  "  Ein  Buddhistischer 
Reform versuch  in  China,"  T'oung  Poo,  1909,  p.  567. 


CHINA  (continued) 

THE  Buddhism  treated  of  in  this  chapter  does  not  include 
Lamaism,  which  being  identical  with  the  religion  of  Tibet  and 
Mongolia  is  more  conveniently  described  elsewhere.  Ordinary 
Chinese  Buddhism  and  Lamaism  are  distinct,  but  are  divided 
not  so  much  by  doctrine  as  by  the  race,  language  and  usages  of 
the  priests.  Chinese  Buddhism  has  acquired  some  local  colour, 
but  it  is  still  based  on  the  teaching  and  practice  imported  from 
India  before  the  Yuan  dynasty,  whereas  Lamaist  tradition  is 
not  direct:  it  represents  Buddhism  as  received  not  from  India 
but  from  Tibet.  Some  holy  places,  such  as  P'uto  and  Wu-t'ai- 
shan  are  frequented  by  both  Lamas  and  Chinese  monks,  and 
Tibetan  prayers  and  images  may  sometimes  be  seen  in  Chinese 
temples,  but  as  a  rule  the  two  divisions  do  not  coalesce. 

Chinese  Buddhism  has  a  physiognomy  and  language  of  its 
own.  The  Paraphrase  of  the  Sacred  Edict  in  a  criticism,  which, 
though  unfriendly,  is  not  altogether  inaccurate,  says  that 
Buddhists  attend  only  to  the  heart,  claim  that  Buddha  can  be 
found  in  the  heart,  and  aim  at  becoming  Buddhas.  This  sounds 
strange  to  those  who  are  acquainted  only  with  the  Buddhism  of 
Ceylon  and  Burma,  but  is  intelligible  as  a  popular  statement  of 
Bodhidharma's  doctrine.  Heart1  means  the  spiritual  nature  of 
man,  essentially  identical  with  the  Buddha  nature  and  capable  of 
purification  and  growth  so  that  all  beings  can  become  Buddhas. 
But  in  the  Far  East  the  doctrine  became  less  pantheistic  and 
more  ethical  than  the  corresponding  Indian  ideas.  The  Buddha 
in  the  heart  is  the  internal  light  and  monitor  rather  than  the 
universal  spirit.  Amida,  Kuan-yin  and  Ti-tsang  with  other 
radiant  and  benevolent  spirits  have  risen  from  humanity  and 
will  help  man  to  rise  as  they  have  done.  Chinese  Buddhists  do 
not  regard  Amida' s  vows  as  an  isolated  achievement.  All 

1  ^Cj) .    For  a  specimen  of  devotional  literature  about  the  heart  see  the  little 
tract  translated  in  China  Branch,  B.A.S.  xxm.  pp.  9-22. 


Boddhisattvas  have  done  the  same  and  carried  out  their  resolu 
tion  in  countless  existences.  Like  the  Madonna  these  gracious 
figures  appeal  directly  to  the  emotions  and  artistic  senses  and 
their  divinity  offers  no  difficulty,  for  in  China  Church  and  State 
alike  have  always  recognized  deification  as  a  natural  process. 
One  other  characteristic  of  all  Far  Eastern  Buddhism  may  be 
noticed.  The  Buddha  is  supposed  to  have  preached  many  creeds 
and  codes  at  different  periods  of  his  life  and  each  school  supposes 
its  own  to  be  the  last,  best  and  all  inclusive. 

As  indicated  elsewhere,  the  essential  part  of  the  Buddhist 
Church  is  the  monkhood  and  it  is  often  hard  to  say  if  a  Chinese 
layman  is  a  Buddhist  or  not.  It  will  therefore  be  best  to  de 
scribe  briefly  the  organization  and  life  of  a  monastery,  then  the 
services  performed  there  and  to  some  extent  attended  by  the 
laity,  and  thirdly  the  rites  performed  by  monks  on  behalf  of 
the  laity,  especially  funeral  ceremonies. 

The  Chinese  Tripitaka  contains  no  less  than  five  recensions 
of  the  Vinaya,  and  the  later  pilgrims  who  visited  India  made 
it  their  special  object  to  obtain  copies  of  the  most  correct 
and  approved  code.  But  though  the  theoretical  value  of  these 
codes  is  still  admitted,  they  have  for  practical  purposes  been 
supplemented  by  other  manuals  of  which  the  best  known  are 
the  Fan-wang-ching  or  Net  of  Brahma1  and  the  Pai-chang- 
ts'ung-lin-ch'ing-kuei  or  Rules  of  Purity  of  the  Monasteries  of 
Pai  Chang. 

The  former  is  said  to  have  been  translated  in  A.D.  406  by 
Kumarajiva  and  to  be  one  chapter  of  a  larger  Sanskrit  work. 
Some  passages  of  it,  particularly  the  condemnation  of  legislation 
which  forbids  or  imposes  conditions  on  the  practice  of  Buddhism2, 
read  as  if  they  had  been  composed  in  China  rather  than  India, 
and  its  whole  attitude  towards  the  Hinayanist  Vinaya  as 
something  inadequate  and  superseded,  can  hardly  have  been 
usual  in  India  or  China  even  in  the  time  of  I-Ching  (700  A.D.). 
Nothing  is  known  of  the  Indian  original,  but  it  certainly  was  not 
the  Brahmajalasutta  of  the  Pali  Canon3.  Though  the  translation 

For  text  translation  and  commentary,  see  De  Groot,  Code  du 

MaMydna  en  Chine,  1893,  see  also  Nanjio,  No.  1087. 

2  De  Groot,  p.  81. 

3  The  identity  of  name  seems  due  to  a  similarity  of  metaphor.  The  Brahmajala 
sutta  is  a  net  of  many  meshes  to  catch  all  forms  of  error.  The  Fan-wang-ching 

XLVI]  CHINA  323 

is  ascribed  to  so  early  a  date,  there  is  no  evidence  that  the  work 
carried  weight  as  an  authority  before  the  eighth  century. 
Students  of  the  Vinaya,  like  I-Ching,  ignore  it.  But  when  the 
scholarly  endeavour  to  discover  the  most  authentic  edition  of 
the  Vinaya  began  to  flag,  this  manual  superseded  the  older 
treatises.  Whatever  external  evidence  there  may  be  for 
attributing  it  to  Kumarajiva,  its  contents  suggest  a  much  later 
date  and  there  is  no  guarantee  that  a  popular  manual  may  not 
have  received  additions.  The  rules  are  not  numbered  consecutively 
but  as  1-10  and  1-48,  and  it  may  be  that  the  first  class  is  older 
than  the  second.  In  many  respects  it  expounds  a  late  and  even 
degenerate  form  of  Buddhism  for  it  contemplates  not  only  a 
temple  ritual  (including  the  veneration  of  images  and  sacred 
books),  but  also  burning  the  head  or  limbs  as  a  religious  practice. 
But  it  makes  no  allusion  to  salvation  through  faith  in  Amitabha 
and  says  little  about  services  to  be  celebrated  for  the  dead1. 

Its  ethical  and  disciplinary  point  of  view  is  dogmatically 
Mahayanist  and  similar  to  that  of  the  Bodhicaryavatara.  The 
Hinayana  is  several  times  denounced2  and  called  heretical,  but, 
setting  aside  a  little  intolerance  and  superstition,  the  teaching 
of  this  manual  is  truly  admirable  and  breathes  a  spirit  of  active 
charity — a  desire  not  only  to  do  no  harm  but  to  help  and  rescue. 

It  contains  a  code  of  ten  primary  and  forty -eight  secondary 
commandments,  worded  as  prohibitions,  but  equivalent  to 
positive  injunctions,  inasmuch  as  they  blame  the  neglect  of 
various  active  duties.  The  ten  primary  commandments  are 
called  Pratimoksha  and  he  who  breaks  them  is  Parajika3,  that 
is  to  say,  he  ipso  facto  leaves  the  road  leading  to  Buddhahood 
and  is  condemned  to  a  long  series  of  inferior  births.  They  pro 
hibit  taking  life,  theft,  unchastity,  lying,  trading  in  alcoholic 
liquors,  evil  speaking,  boasting,  avarice,  hatred  and  blasphemy. 
Though  infraction  of  the  secondary  commandments  has  less 
permanently  serious  consequence,  their  observance  is  indis 
pensable  for  all  monks.  Many  of  them  are  amplifications  of  the 

compares  the  varieties  of  Buddhist  opinion  to  the  meshes  of  a  net  (De  Groot,  I.e. 
p.  26),  but  the  net  is  the  all-inclusive  common  body  of  truth. 

1  See,  however,  sections  20  and  39. 

2  See  especially  De  Groot,  I.e.  p.  68,  where  the  reading  of  the  Abhidharma  is 
forbidden.  Though  this  name  is  not  confined  to  the  Hinayana,  A-pi-t'an  in  Chinese 
seems  to  be  rarely  used  as  a  title  of  Mahayanist  books. 

3  The  Indian  words  are  transliterated  in  the  Chinese  text. 


ten  major  commandments  and  are  directed  against  indirect  and 
potential  sins,  such  as  the  possession  of  weapons.  The  Bhikshu 
may  not  eat  flesh,  drink  alcohol,  set  forests  on  fire  or  be  con 
nected  with  any  business  injurious  to  others,  such  as  the  slave 
trade.  He  is  warned  against  gossip,  sins  of  the  eye,  foolish 
practices  such  as  divination  and  even  momentary  forgetfulness 
of  his  high  calling  and  duties.  But  it  is  not  sufficient  that  he 
should  be  self -concentrated  and  without  offence.  He  must 
labour  for  the  welfare  and  salvation  of  others,  and  it  is  a  sin 
to  neglect  such  duties  as  instructing  the  ignorant,  tending  the 
sick,  hospitality,  saving  men  or  animals  from  death  or  slavery, 
praying1  for  all  in  danger,  exhorting  to  repentance,  sympathy 
with  all  living  things.  A  number  of  disciplinary  rules  prescribe 
a  similarly  high  standard  for  daily  monastic  life.  The  monk  must 
be  strenuous  and  intelligent;  he  must  yield  obedience  to  his 
superiors  and  set  a  good  example  to  the  laity :  he  must  not  teach 
for  money  or  be  selfish  in  accepting  food  and  gifts.  As  for  creed 
he  is  strictly  bidden  to  follow  and  preach  the  Mahayana:  it 
is  a  sin  to  follow  or  preach  the  doctrine  of  the  Sravakas2  or 
read  their  books  or  not  aspire  to  ultimate  Buddhahood.  Very 
remarkable  are  the  injunctions  to  burn  one's  limbs  in  honour 
of  Buddhas:  to  show  great  respect  to  copies  of  the  scriptures 
and  to  make  vows.  From  another  point  of  view  the  first  and 
forty-seventh  secondary  commandments  are  equally  remarkable : 
the  first  bids  officials  discharge  their  duties  with  due  respect 
to  the  Church  and  the  other  protests  against  improper  legis 

The  Fan-wang-ching  is  tl*>  most  important  and  most 
authoritative  statement  of  the  general  principles  regulating 
monastic  life  in  China.  So  far  as  my  own  observation  goes,  it 
is  known  and  respected  in  all  monasteries.  The  Pai-chang- 
ch'irig-kuei3  deals  rather  with  the  details  of  organization  and 
ritual  and  has  not  the  same  universal  currency.  It  received  the 

1  More  accurately  reading  the  sutras  on  their  behalf,  but  this  exercise  is  practi 
cally  equivalent  to  intercessory  prayer. 

3  The  full  title  is  f         .     Pai  Chang  is  apparently  to  be 

taken  as  the  name  of  the  author,  but  it  is  the  designation  of  a  monastery  used  as  a 
personal  name.  See  Hackmann  in  T'oung  Pao,  1908,  pp.  651-662.  It  is  No.  1642  in 
Nanjio's  Catalogue.  He  says  that  it  has  been  revised  and  altered. 

XLVI]  CHINA  325 

approval  of  the  Yuan  dynasty1  and  is  still  accepted  as  authori 
tative  in  many  monasteries  and  gives  a  correct  account  of  their 
general  practice.  It  was  composed  by  a  monk  of  Kiang-si,  who 
died  in  814  A.D.  He  belonged  to  the  Ch'an  school,  but  his  rules 
are  approved  by  others.  I  will  not  attempt  to  summarize  them, 
but  they  include  most  points  of  ritual  and  discipline  mentioned 
below.  The  author  indicates  the  relations  which  should  prevail 
between  Church  and  State  by  opening  his  work  with  an  account 
of  the  ceremonies  to  be  performed  on  the  Emperor's  birthday, 
and  similar  occasions. 

Large  Buddhist  temples  almost  always  form  part  of  a 
monastery,  but  smaller  shrines,  especially  in  towns,  are  often 
served  by  a  single  priest.  The  many-storeyed  towers  called 
pagodas  which  are  a  characteristic  beauty  of  Chinese  landscapes, 
are  in  their  origin  stupas  erected  over  relics  but  at  the  present 
day  can  hardly  be  called  temples  or  religious  buildings,  for  they 
are  not  places  of  worship  and  generally  owe  their  construction 
to  the  dictates  of  Feng-shui  or  geomancy.  Monasteries  are 
usually  built  outside  towns  and  by  preference  on  high  ground, 
whence  shan  or  mountain  has  come  to  be  the  common  designa 
tion  of  a  convent,  whatever  its  position.  The  sites  of  these 
establishments  show  the  deep  feeling  of  cultivated  Chinese  for 
nature  and  their  appreciation  of  the  influence  of  scenery  on 
temper,  an  appreciation  which  connects  them  spiritually  with 
the  psalms  of  the  monks  and  nuns  preserved  in  the  Pali  Canon. 
The  architecture  is  not  self-assertive.  Its  aim  is  not  to  produce 
edifices  complete  and  satisfying  in  their  own  proportions  but 
rather  to  harmonize  buildings  with  landscape,  to  adjust  courts 
and  pavilions  to  the  slope  of  the  hillside  and  diversify  the  groves 
of  fir  and  bamboo  with  shrines  and  towers  as  fantastic  and  yet 
as  natural  as  the  mountain  boulders.  The  reader  who  wishes 
to  know  more  of  them  should  consult  Johnston's  Buddhist 
China,  a  work  which  combines  in  a  rare  degree  sound  knowledge 
and  literary  charm. 

A  monastery2  is  usually  a  quadrangle  surrounded  by  a  wall. 

1  See  T'oung  Pao,  1904,  pp.  437  ff. 

2  It  i8  probable  that  the  older  Chinese  monasteries  attempted  to  reproduce  the 
arrangement  of  Nalanda  and  other  Indian  establishments.    Unfortunately  Hsiian 
Chuang  and  the  other  pilgrims  give  us  few  details  as  to  the  appearance  of  Indian 
monasteries:  they  tell  us,  however,  that  they  were  surrounded  by  a  wall,  that  the 
monks'  quarters  were  near  this  wall,  that  there  were  halls  where  choral  services 


Before  the  great  gate,  which  faces  south,  or  in  the  first  court 
is  a  tank,  spanned  by  a  bridge,  wherein  grows  the  red  lotus  and 
tame  fish  await  doles  of  biscuit.  The  sides  of  the  quadrangle 
contain  dwelling  rooms,  refectories,  guest  chambers,  store 
houses,  a  library,  printing  press  and  other  premises  suitable  to 
a  learned  and  pious  foundation.  The  interior  space  is  divided 
into  two  or  three  courts,  bordered  by  a  veranda.  In  each  court 
is  a  hall  of  worship  or  temple,  containing  a  shelf  or  alcove  on 
which  are  set  the  sacred  images:  In  front  of  them  stands  a  table, 
usually  of  massive  wood,  bearing  vases  of  flowers,  bowls  for 
incense  sticks  and  other  vessels.  The  first  temple  is  called  the 
Hall  of  the  Four  Great  Kings  and  the  figures  in  it  represent 
beings  who  are  still  in  the  world  of  transmigration  and  have  not 
yet  attained  Buddhahood.  They  include  gigantic  images  of  the 
Four  Kings,  Maitreya,  the  Buddha  designate  of  the  future,  and 
Wei-to1,  a  military  Bodhisattva  sometimes  identified  with  Indra. 
Kuan-ti,  the  Chinese  God  of  War,  is  often  represented  in  this 
building.  The  chief  temple,  called  the  Precious  Hall  of  the  Great 
Hero2,  is  in  the  second  court  and  contains  the  principal  images. 
Very  commonly  there  are  nine  figures  on  either  side  representing 
eighteen  disciples  of  the  Buddha  and  known  as  the  Eighteen 
Lohan  or  Arhats3.  Above  the  altar  are  one  or  more  large  gilt 

were  performed  and  that  there  were  triads  of  images.  But  the  Indian  buildings  had 
three  stories.  See  Chavannes,  Memoir  &  sur  les  Eeligieux  Eminents,  1894,  p.  85. 

1  jl|L[Jfj  or  Up!'  For  thia  personage  see  the  article  in  B.E.F.E.O.  1916. 
No.  3,  by  Peri  who  identifies  him  with  Wei,  the  general  of  the  Heavenly  Kings  who 
appeared  to  Tao  Hsiian  the  founder  of  the  Vinaya  school  and  became  popular  as 
a  protecting  deity  of  Buddhism.  The  name  is  possibly  a  mistaken  transcription  of 

3  $S/JiL.    See  Levi  and  Chavannes'  two  articles  in  J.A.  1916,  I  and  n,  and 
/l>|£  tx\i 

Watters  in  J.R.A.S.  1898,  p.  329,  for  an  account  of  these  personages.  The  original 
number,  still  found  in  a  few  Chinese  temples  as  well  as  in  Korea,  Japan  and  Tibet  was 
sixteen.  Several  late  sutras  con  tain  the  idea  that  the  Buddha  entrusted  the  protection 
of  his  religion  to  four  or  sixteen  disciples  and  bade  them  not  enter  Nirvana  but  tarry 
until  the  advent  of  Maitreya.  The  Ta-A-lo-han-nan-t'i-mi-to-lo-so-shuo-fa-chu-chi 
(Nanjio,  1466)  is  an  account  of  these  sixteen  disciples  and  of  their  spheres  of  in 
fluence.  The  Buddha  assigned  to  each  a  region  within  which  it  is  his  duty  to  guard 
the  faith.  They  will  not  pass  from  this  life  before  the  next  Buddha  comes.  Pindola 
is  the  chief  of  them.  Nothing  is  known  of  the  work  cited  except  that  it  was  translated 
in  654  by  Hsiian  Chuang,  who,  according  to  Watters,  used  an  earlier  translation. 
As  the  Arhats  arc  Indian  personalities,  and  their  spheres  are  mapped  out  from  the 

XLVI]  CHINA  327 

images.  When  there  is  only  one  it  is  usually  Sakya-muni,  but 
more  often  there  are  three.  Such  triads  are  variously  composed 
and  the  monks  often  speak  of  them  vaguely  as  the  "three 
precious  ones,"  without  seeming  to  attach  much  importance  to 
their  identity1.  The  triad  is  loosely  connected  with  the  idea  of 
the  three  bodies  of  Buddha  but  this  explanation  does  not  always 
apply  and  the  central  figure  is  sometimes  0-mi-to  or  Kuan-yin, 
who  are  the  principal  recipients  of  the  worship  offered  by  the 
laity.  The  latter  deity  has  usually  a  special  shrine  at  the  back 
of  the  main  altar  and  facing  the  north  door  of  the  hall,  in  which 
her  merciful  activity  as  the  saviour  of  mankind  is  represented 
in  a  series  of  statuettes  or  reliefs.  Other  Bodhisattvas  such  as 
Ta-shih-chi  (Mahasthamaprapta)and  Ti-tsang  also  have  separate 
shrines  in  or  at  the  side  of  the  great  hall2.  The  third  hall  contains 
as  a  rule  only  small  images.  It  is  used  for  expounding  the 
scriptures  and  for  sermons,  if  the  monastery  has  a  preacher,  but 
is  set  apart  for  the  religious  exercises  of  the  monks  rather  than 
the  devotions  of  the  laity.  In  very  large  monasteries  there  is  a 
fourth  hall  for  meditation. 

Monasteries  are  of  various  sizes  and  the  number  of  monks  is 
not  constant,  for  the  peripatetic  habit  of  early  Buddhism  is  not 
extinct:  at  one  time  many  inmates  may  be  absent  on  their 

point  of  view  of  Indian  geography,  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  we  have  to  do  with 
an  Indian  idea,  imported  into  Tibet  as  well  as  into  China  where  it  became  far  more 
popular  than  it  had  ever  been  in  India.  The  two  additional  Arhats  (who  vary  in 
different  temples,  whereas  the  sixteen  are  fixed)  appear  to  have  been  added  during 
the  T'ang  dynasty  and,  according  to  Watters,  in  imitation  of  a  very  select  order  of 
merit  instituted  by  the  Emperor  T'ai  Tsung  and  comprising  eighteen  persons. 
Chavannes  and  Levi  see  in  them  spirits  borrowed  from  the  popular  pantheon. 

Chinese  ideas  about  the  Lohans  at  the  present  day  are  very  vague.  Their  Indian 
origin  has  been  forgotten  and  some  of  them  have  been  provided  with  Chinese 
biographies.  (See  Dore,  p.  216.)  One  popular  story  says  that  they  were  eighteen 
converted  brigands. 

In  several  large  temples  there  are  halls  containing  500  images  of  Arhats,  which 
include  many  Chinese  Emperors  and  one  of  them  is  often  pointed  out  as  being 
Marco  Polo.  But  this  is  very  doubtful.  See,  however,  Hackmann,  Buddhismus, 
p.  212. 

1  Generally  they  consist  of   !§akya  muni  and  two  superhuman    Buddhas  or 
Bodhisattvas,  such  as  O-mi-to  (Amitabha)  and  Yo-shih-fo  (Vaidurya):  Pi-lu-fo 
(Vairocana)  and  Lo-shih-fo  (Lochana):  Wen-shu(Manjus-ri)and  P'u-hsien(Samanta- 
bhadra).    The  common  European  explanation  that  they  are  the  Buddhas  of  the 
past,  present  and  future  is  not  correct. 

2  xCj7»ffi^^  anc^  ^tfi^C*    ^°r  ^e  imP°r^ance  °f  Ti-tsang  in  popular  Bud 
dhism,  which  has  perhaps  been  underestimated,  see  Johnston,  chap.  vni. 


travels,  at  another  there  may  be  an  influx  of  strangers.  There 
are  also  wandering  monks  who  have  ceased  to  belong  to  a 
particular  monastery  and  spend  their  time  in  travelling.  A  large 
monastery  usually  contains  from  thirty  to  fifty  monks,  but  a 
very  large  one  may  have  as  many  as  three  hundred.  The  majority 
are  dedicated  by  their  parents  as  children,  but  some  embrace 
the  career  from  conviction  in  their  maturity  and  these,  if  few, 
are  the  more  interesting.  Children  who  are  brought  up  to  be 
monks  receive  a  religious  education  in  the  monastery,  wear 
monastic  clothes  and  have  their  heads  shaved.  At  the  age  of 
about  seventeen  they  are  formally  admitted  as  members  of 
the  order  and  undergo  three  ceremonies  of  ordination,  which  in 
their  origin  represented  stages  of  the  religious  life,  but  are  now 
performed  by  accumulation  in  the  course  of  a  few  days.  One 
reason  for  this  is  that  only  monasteries  possessing  a  licence  from 
the  Government1  are  allowed  to  hold  ordinations  and  that 
consequently  postulants  have  to  go  some  distance  to  be  received 
as  full  brethren  and  are  anxious  to  complete  the  reception 
expeditiously.  At  the  first  ordination  the  candidates  are 
accepted  as  novices:  at  the  second,  which  follows  a  day  or  two 
afterwards  and  corresponds  to  the  upasampada,  they  accept 
the  robes  and  bowl  and  promise  obedience  to  the  rules  of  the 
Pratimoksha.  But  these  ceremonies  are  of  no  importance 
compared  with  the  third,  called  Shou  Pu-sa-chieh2  or  acceptance 
of  the  Bodhisattva  precepts,  that  is  to  say  the  fifty-eight 
precepts  enunciated  in  the  Fan-wang-ching.  The  essential  part 
of  this  ordination  is  the  burning  of  the  candidate's  head  in  from 
three  to  eighteen  places.  The  operation  involves  considerable 
pain  and  is  performed  by  lighting  pieces  of  charcoal  set  in  a 
paste  which  is  spread  over  the  shaven  skull. 

Although  the  Fan-wang-ching  does  not  mention  this 
burning  of  the  head  as  part  of  ordination,  yet  it  emphatically 
enjoins  the  practice  of  burning  the  body  or  limbs,  affirming  that 
those  who  neglect  it  are  not  true  Bodhisattvas3.  The  prescrip 
tion  is  founded  on  the  twenty-second  chapter  of  the  Lotus4 
which,  though  a  later  addition,  is  found  in  the  Chinese  transla- 

1  I  speak  of  the  Old  Imperial  Government  which  came  to  an  end  in  1911. 

2  Jibuti/Si-  3  De  Groot'  Lc'  P-  5L 
4  See  Kern's  translation,  especially  pp.  379  and  385. 

XLVI]  CHINA  329 

tion  made  between  265  and  316  A.D.1  I-Ching  discusses  and 
reprobates  such  practices.  Clearly  they  were  known  in  India 
when  he  visited  it,  but  not  esteemed  by  the  better  Buddhists, 
and  the  fact  that  they  form  no  part  of  the  ordinary  Tibetan 
ritual  indicates  that  they  had  no  place  in  the  decadent  Indian 
Buddhism  which  in  various  stages  of  degeneration  was  intro 
duced  into  Tibet2.  In  Korea  and  Japan  branding  is  practised 
but  on  the  breast  and  arms  rather  than  on  the  head. 

It  would  appear  then  that  burning  and  branding  as  part  of 
initiation  were  known  in  India  in  the  early  centuries  of  our  era 
but  not  commonly  approved  and  that  their  general  acceptance 
in  China  was  subsequent  to  the  death  of  I-Ching  in  A.D.  7133. 
This  author  clearly  approved  of  nothing  but  the  double  ordina 
tion  as  novice  and  full  monk.  The  third  ordination  as  Bodhi- 
sattva  must  be  part  of  the  later  phase  inaugurated  by  Amogha 
about  7504. 

This  practice  is  defended  as  a  trial  of  endurance,  but  the 
earlier  and  better  monks  were  right  in  rejecting  it,  for  in  itself 
it  is  an  unedifying  spectacle  and  it  points  to  the  logical  con 
clusion  that,  if  it  is  meritorious  to  cauterize  the  head,  it  is  still 
more  meritorious  to  burn  the  whole  body.  Cases  of  suicide  by 
burning  appear  to  have  occurred  in  recent  years,  especially  in 
the  province  of  Che-Kiang5.  The  true  doctrine  of  the  Mahay  ana 
is  that  every  one  should  strive  for  the  happiness  and  salvation 
of  all  beings,  but  this  beautiful  truth  may  be  sadly  perverted 

1  See  Nanjio,  Nos.  138  and  139.  The  practice  is  not  entirely  unknown  in  the 
legends  of  Pali  Buddhism.    In  the  Lokapannatti,  a  work  existing  in  Burma  but 
perhaps  translated  from  the  Sanskrit,  Asoka  burns  himself  in  honour  of  the  Buddha, 
but  is  miraculously  preserved.   See  B.E.F.E.O.  1904,  pp.  421  and  427. 

2  See  I-Tsing,  Records  of  the  Buddhist  Religion,  trans.  Takakusu,  pp.  195  ff., 
and  for  Tibet,  Waddell,  Buddhism  of  Tibet,  p.  178,  note  3,  from  which  it  appears 
that  it  is  only  in  Eastern  Tibet  and  probably  under  Chinese  influence  that  branding 
is  in  vogue.    For  apparent  instances  in  Central  Asian  art,  see  Grunwedel,  Budd. 
Kultst.  p.  23,  note  1. 

3  Branding  is  common  in  many  Hindu  sects,  especially  the  Madhvas,  but  is 
reprobated  by  others. 

4  It  is  condemned  as  part  of  the  superstition  of  Buddhism  in  a  memorial  of 
Han  Yii,  819  A.D. 

6  See  those  cited  by  De  Groot,  I.e.  p.  228,  and  the  article  of  MacGowan  (Chinese 
Recorder,  1888)  there  referred  to.  See  also  Hackmann,  Buddhism  as  a  Religion, 
p.  228.  Chinese  sentiment  often  approves  suicide,  for  instance,  if  committed  by 
widows  or  the  adherents  of  defeated  princes.  For  a  Confucian  instance,  see  Johnston, 
p  341 


if  it  is  held  that  the  endurance  of  pain  is  in  itself  meritorious 
and  that  such  acquired  merit  can  be  transferred  to  others.  Self- 
torture,  seems  not  to  be  unknown  in  the  popular  forms  of 
Chinese  Buddhism1. 

The  postulant,  after  receiving  these  three  ordinations, 
becomes  a  full  monk  or  Ho-shang2  and  takes  a  new  name.  The 
inmates  of  every  monastery  owe  obedience  to  the  abbot  and 
some  abbots  have  an  official  position,  being  recognized  by  the 
Government  as  representing  the  clergy  of  a  prefecture,  should 
there  be  any  business  to  be  transacted  with  the  secular  authori 
ties.  But  there  is  no  real  hierarchy  outside  the  monasteries, 
each  of  which  is  an  isolated  administrative  unit.  Within  each 
monastery  due  provision  is  made  for  discipline  and  administra 
tion.  The  monks  are  divided  into  two  classes,  the  Western  who 
are  concerned  with  ritual  and  other  purely  religious  duties  and 
the  Eastern  who  are  relatively  secular  and  superintend  the 
business  of  the  establishment3.  This  is  often  considerable  for 
the  income  is  usually  derived  from  estates,  in  managing  which 
the  monks  are  assisted  by  a  committee  of  laymen.  Other  laymen 
of  humbler  status4  live  around  the  monastery  and  furnish  the 
labour  necessary  for  agriculture,  forestry  and  whatever  in 
dustries  the  character  of  the  property  calls  into  being.  As  a  rule 
there  is  a  considerable  library.  Even  a  sympathetic  stranger  will 
often  find  that  the  monks  deny  its  existence,  because  many 
books  have  been  destroyed  in  political  troubles,  but  most 
monasteries  possess  copies  of  the  principal  scriptures  and  a 
complete  Tripitaka,  usually  the  edition  of  1737,  is  not  rare. 
Whether  the  books  are  much  read  I  do  not  know,  but  I  have 
observed  that  after  the  existence  of  the  library  has  been  ad- 

1  See  e.g.  Du  Bose,  The,  Dragon,  Image  and  Demon,  p.  265.    I  have  never  seen 
such  practices  myself.  See  also  Paraphrase  of  the  Sacred  Edict,  vii.  8. 

2  5|*H  r^'    This  word»  w^ich  has  no  derivation  in  Chinese,  is  thought  to  be  a 
corruption  of  some  vernacular  form  of  the -Sanskrit  Upadhyaya  current  in  Central 
Asia.  See  I-tsing,  transl.  Takakusu,  p.  118.  Upadhyaya  became  Vajjha  (as  is  shown 
by  the  modern  Indian  forms  Ojha  or  Jha  and  Tamil  Vaddyar).  See  Bloch  in  Indo- 
Qermanischen  Forschungen,  vol.  xxv.  1909,  p.  239.  Vajjha  might  become  in  Chinese 
Ho-sho  or  Ho-shang  for  Ho  sometimes  represents  the  Indian  syllable  va.   See 
Julien,  Methode,  p.  109,  and  Eitel,  Handbook  of  Chinese  Buddhism,  p.  195. 

8  For  details  see  Hackmann  in  T'oung  Poo,  1908. 

4  They  apparently  correspond  to  the  monastic  lay  servants  or  "pure  men" 
described  by  I-Ching,  chap,  xxxii,  as  living  as  Nalanda. 

XLVI]  CHINA  331 

mitted,  it  often  proves  difficult  to  find  the  key.  There  is  also 
a  printing  press,  where  are  prepared  notices  and  prayers,  as 
well  as  copies  of  popular  sutras. 

The  food  of  the  monks  is  strictly  vegetarian,  but  they  do  not 
go  round  with  the  begging  bowl  nor,  except  in  a  few  monasteries, 
is  it  forbid